It’s hard to believe that the year has come and is almost gone.

It seems like only yesterday and as we come to December, it’s always a good opportunity to reflect back on the year that was.

As we enter into the holiday season and approach the conclusion of 2012, it is an opportune time to look behind us and appreciate our accomplishments.

2012 was a very challenging yet interesting year for the Mamanuca Environment Society.

The year started with the school program as usual.

I joined the organisation on May so it’s safe for me to say that the he highlight- perhaps- was the launch of the ‘Mamanuca Turtle Conservation Project on Friday June 29.

The event was held at Castaway Island Resort and 3 turtles were release from the shores of Castaway back into their natural habitat to mark the occasion.

The project achieved a key milestone, releasing the first ever Pacific best practice guidelines for turtle conservation for resort operators and village communities in the region.

In addition, a comprehensive Community-Based Management Plan, and a biological report were also issued.

The three documents together represent the collaborative work of the Mamanuca Environment Society, the traditional owners of the Mamanuca Islands, and resort operators.

November 2012 was a special month for MES as it marks the 10 year anniversary of the organisation.

Unfortunately, there was no celebration but it’s still okay if we can party on March 2013- the date MES first Project Manager Di Walker was given her work permit. Ms  Walker commenced work in April 2003.

During the past decade, MES has seen many crises yet it bounces back every time, and through its ability to change it continues to create a new future and new opportunities for the Mamanuca Group of Islands.

As an organization with its feet planted firmly on the ground, MES has seen major changes on how many reacts to conservation in both positive and negative ways.

We have come to understand that you don’t have to be a specialist advisor in order to bring about change, nor do you need to be in a management position.

You just have to want to make a difference because you need nature just as nature needs you.

Everyone, everywhere, depends on nature — for our health, for our jobs, for the very air we breathe and the water we drink. But nature can’t fight for itself. It needs your help.

Finally, as we approach 2013, the challenges before us are ever present.  We hope everyone has a chance to rest and refresh to be ready to come back to all of the opportunities that the New Year will bring.

To our sponsors and members, we sincerely hope you enjoy the holiday and please keep supporting us. MES need you now more than ever.

We look forward to serving you in 2013.