By: Katherine Wood

Evolution. It’s inevitable. In our world, it’s evolve or get left behind and in this case, being left behind equals extinction. This concept holds true for our organization today. Coral Restoration Foundation has undergone some changes; it has evolved to equate science and education with our reef restoration work. Inherently, we know that these areas are important to restoration. However, now they are a integral part of our mission in the hopes that we can be leaders of scientific innovation for preserving reefs in addition to educating through experiential learning.

That was a lot to take in. Let’s unpack this. We are innovating techniques constantly from the way we grow our corals in our nursery to how we outplant them onto the reef. These techniques have evolved since Coral Restoration Foundation’s inception. We’re now focusing on the science behind each one of these phases that our corals go through. Currently, the science aspect of our organization focuses on questions such as how can we use genotyping to place corals on reefs that will better suit them? So these two aspects of reef restoration and science are important and you can tell that they’re related, but why is education our third musketeer?

Here’s where you come in. Yes, you. You are a major part of the restoration of our reefs. Through education, we are able to inform those outside of the organization of what we’re doing and more importantly why. Arming you with knowledge means that you can be an advocate for our reefs. By communicating ideas and opinions to our family, friends, or co-workers, we create a constructive conversation increasing our awareness. If we’re being honest, it is not enough for us to simply throw facts and statistics around, that’s boring, but our reefs are not so why should learning about them be boring? This is why we’re implementing programs for volunteers, building communities on dive programs, and hosting events throughout the month. The more we can interject into conversations, the more we can create an awareness and ultimately, initiate a behavioral change making little, daily decisions to help our reefs. For children in the classroom, this means exposure and encouraging environmentally friendly behavior early on; ensuring that the coming generations understand why we must care and become active in their care.

“The more we can interject into conversations, the more we can create an awareness and ultimately, initiate a behavioral change making little, daily decisions to help our reefs.”

Education is arguably the most important prong of our evolved trio, because we as an organization can do our very best, but our reefs will never truly be safe without you. Our efforts while innovative and constant will never hold as much power as communities uniting together for a shared goal. We hope to help build this rapport with you as our organization undergoes these changes and look forward to our community evolving together.