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School teacher Leah Fouchong is the founder of Coexistence Expeditions (CE), an environmental enterprise aimed at promoting environmental awareness, education and empowerment through environmental advocacy. Her group is now aligned to the Cariri Business Hatchery programme which is assisting Fouchong in developing and streamlining the business of CE.
Speaking a bit about CE, Fouchong said: “I am currently employed as a geography teacher which has constantly maintained my love and passion for environment. Environmental advocacy is achieved by providing guided, safe, educational and fun eco friendly tours to outdoor enthusiasts.”
Fouchong’s passion about environmental issues, propelled her desire to pursue higher education. “In 2012, I was awarded a Caribbean Pacific Scholarship (CARPIMS) to pursue a Masters in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development for the Caribbean,” she revealed. “This programme is offered by the Life Sciences Department, University of the West Indies, in partnership with three other universities – University of Belize, University of Guyana and the University of Suriname. This scholarship afforded me the opportunity to pursue the blended programme at any of the aforementioned universities.”
Continuing Fouchong added: “The University of Belize was chosen because the field practicum for this Masters programme was focused on the marine environment. Through experiencing life and studying in Belize I found a greater love and appreciation for this field of study. While there I attained my certification as a rescue scuba diver and as a result of this amazing experience, my interests were broadened as I had the opportunity to explore new and different aspects of the environment.”
The University’s field station and the Turneffe Atoll, part of the Belize Barrier Reef, became Fouchong’s home for three months as she collected data for her final thesis. “During that time,” she said, “I felt like I was home and didn’t miss being away from people for even one minute. After, completing the programme, I gained a greater sense of appreciation and passion for environmental issues as the people of Belize were very environmentally conscious and this quickly became a part of my life.”
Upon returning to Trinidad in February 2014, Fouchong found herself desiring to do more for our environment. She said: “This new found passion became my drive to make a change which began with volunteering with many environmental organisations such as the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network and Eco Divers. While volunteering with these organisations, my life was profoundly impacted and I wanted to do more to protect and conserve our dynamic environment.
“This led me to explore T&T through different eyes and my recreation quickly grew into an environmental enterprise. In November 2014, I created a Facebook page to disseminate environmental education, showcase the beauty of our environment and promote the protection and preservation of the environment. This was just the beginning of Coexistence Expeditions and my weekends became filled with road trips, exploring our unique environment with friends. I would post pictures of the places we visited to my Facebook page and this peaked further interest in my explorations from my followers.”
CE was officially registered in 2015 as a small business and began offering tours to the public. Fouchong then enrolled in the Cariri Business Hatchery programme which assisted her in developing and streamlining the business of CE. She said: “Although, focusing on the business side of things, my greatest desire was for Coexistence Expeditions to stand out from similar businesses by maintaining its advocacy on behalf of the environment.
“Our mission therefore, is to empower citizens to become environmentally conscious in an effort to protect and conserve our environment while enjoying eco-friendly tours, hence our aims include promoting awareness on how citizens can live in harmony with the environment; utilising the environmental resources sustainably; and, maintaining, enjoying and protecting the environment for future generations.”
Contact Coexistence Expeditions
CE continues to offer a wide range of expeditions and tours under the following categories: Eco Tourism tours, outdoor expeditions, culture and heritage tours, adventure activities, road trips and beaches.
It can be found on all major social media forums:
Twitter : coexistence_1
Email: [email protected]
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