YOU GET A WETSUIT AND YOU GET A WETSUIT!
Henderson® Divewear produces a line of sustainable wetsuits made of Greenprene® which is a material produced from natural additives such as sugar cane, plant oils, and oyster shells. Henderson has generously donated new Greenprene® suits to our entire dive team!
This gift couldn’t have come at a better time, as the water temperature has just started dropping. Our team set up a wetsuit fitting at Rainbow Reef, a local dive shop in Key Largo to make sure we each got the perfect fit. Now we are suited up, ready for the colder water and looking so fresh and sustainable! A well-fitting and high functioning wetsuit makes all the difference for our restoration divers. Henderson’s generous donation has already helped our staff dive more comfortably, allowing our attentions to be focused on returning corals to the reef!
Restoration Associates Nikkie Cox and Becca Creighton place boulder corals on a Coral Tree™ in our Tavernier Nursery, comfortable and warm in their new Greenprene® wetsuits! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
Click here to watch the promotional video filmed by Henderson® for the new suits with Steven Frink, a member of the CRF™ Board of Directors, and featuring Alex Neufeld, our Special Projects Coordinator.
PLASTIC POLLUTION THREATENS OUR CORAL NURSERY
Last month our intern team arrived at Tavernier Nursery, suited up, jumped in, and noticed something very large and out of place. They were stunned to discover a huge tarp wrapped around several boulder coral trees. Interns Katie Hall, Bailey Thomasson, Jeremy Goodsnyder, and Lindsey Kaye jumped into action, untangling, and cutting the tarp free and swimming it up to Captain Nate Amadon.
Our team discovers and removes a massive tarp wrapped around our Coral Trees™ in our Tavernier Nursery. ©Katie Hall/Coral Restoration Foundation™
“Pulling out the tarp has been one of the most memorable dives I’ve had with CRF! When we started descending, the tarps were draped around the Boulder coral trees and made the nursery look like a big pirate ship. We worked together to get it unwrapped from the trees and checked the corals - luckily there wasn’t much damage," exclaimed Bailey Thomasson CRF™ Lead Intern.
Safely removed from our nursery and back on land, this tarp measured over 100 feet! ©Nate Amadon/Coral Restoration Foundation™
When we got back to shore, we laid out the tarp and it was over 100 feet long. After measuring it we disposed of it properly, so it won’t end up back in the ocean! Our team’s quick response ensured no corals were damaged in the time the tarp was wrapped around our trees.
CRF™ TO THE RESCUE
The restoration team has been busy at work collecting wild corals from our project with Florida Keys Electric Co-op. For more information, you can read the full press release here. So far, we’ve collected 126 coral colonies, a quarter of our goal!
When collecting corals we place the blade of a thin painter's multi-tool at the base of a coral colony where it meets the concrete piling. Then we carefully detach the coral from the substrate. Each coral is individually transported to our topside team who attach the corals to trays and make sure to tag them with their genotype, species, and collection location.
“The coral collection has been so exciting. We are seeing more corals than we expected AND more species! I can’t wait until all the corals are added to our gene bank and can be returned to the reef in future restoration work” said Haley Hurst Special Projects Intern .
Rescued finger coral (Porites porites) being transported to the safety of our shallow-water nursery. ©Lauren Ziztman/Coral Restoration Foundation™
These corals contain species that are currently under-represented in restoration efforts, making it that much more important to retrieve them from the condemned construction zones where they live. We've had a great start to this new rescue initiative and we are so happy to be caring for even more corals in our nursery, preserving their genetic code in our gene bank, and eventually returning them to the reef!
"Bringing It Back" Editorial Intern
Lauren studied psychology and environmental studies at Seattle University, where she had the life altering experience of studying abroad in the Galapagos Islands. There, she was introduced to marine biology, conservation, and diving. After that, her passion for diving only increased, and she is now a dive instructor and has traveled to explore the marine ecosystems in the Maldives, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Pacific Northwest, and the Florida Keys. An avid learner, Lauren immersed herself in the local environment and started volunteering with Seattle Aquarium as a diver, beach naturalist and salmon naturalist. Lauren is interested in one day conducting deep-sea research, so she earned her certification as a ROV pilot and technician. Most recently, she became a marine educator at Pacific Marine Research Afloat and was taught to inspire change through educating young people to make an everlasting change on the planet. Lauren is excited to still be working in education while making a visible difference on the planet with CRF™.