Updated: Jan 21, 2020
MISSION: ICONIC REEFS BREIFING
Last week, our Reef Restoration Program Manager Jessica Levy and CEO Scott Winters attended the Mission: Iconic Reefs briefings in Washington D.C. As panel members, they answered questions regarding this large scale-restoration plan and the critical role Coral Restoration Foundation™ is playing in Mission: Iconic Reefs.
Mission: Iconic Reefs Briefing, Washington D.C., Source: @SenRubioPress/Twitter
The briefing was spread over two days with the first day taking place right outside of Washington D.C. in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was geared towards organizations that have a stake in the Florida Keys and its marine resources, including environmental conservation organizations and recreation and tourism organizations focused on fishing, diving, or boating. Answers given during the Q&A session were provided by Sarah Fangman and Tom Moore of NOAA, Scott Winters and Jessica Levy of CRF™, and Shannon Yee of National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
Day 2 took place at the United States Capital in Washington D.C., and was hosted by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Congressional staff attended this briefing. Because these staff represent various congressional and committee offices, sharing information on Mission: Iconic Reefs will help broaden our audience, expand opportunities for collaboration, and help build support.
"Having the ability to participate in both the constituent and congressional briefings was an exciting opportunity to not only show our support for the Mission: Iconic Reefs initiatives, but also for us to interact with a diverse mix of user-groups and stakeholders that will benefit from this collaborative and comprehensive plan to bolster habitat recovery in the Florida Keys," said Jess Levy, CRF™ Reef Restoration Program Manager.
CRF™ was excited to connect with those involved in the project and answer questions for stakeholders and congressional staff, as we have already begun large-scale coral restoration in many of the seven reef sites that make up Mission: Iconic Reefs. We look forward to continuing to provide information to the public regarding this collaboration with NOAA and other partners in the Florida Keys.
WELCOME TO THE RESTORATION TEAM!
This week, we welcomed two new restoration associates to the CRF™ team! We are very excited to have them with us, especially as we continue to scale-up our restoration efforts in 2020. Meet Rebecca Creighton and Nikkie Cox!
Rebecca hails from Cobb Island situated on the Potomac River in beautiful southern Maryland where she grew up raising livestock on her family's small hobby farm. Her love for the water stems from a long lineage of hard working watermen. A proud alumnus of University of Maryland, she earned her bachelor's degree in agricultural science and technology in 2015. After pursuing a career in agriculture communications, she left her desk job to join the Peace Corps as an agriculture extension agent in Madagascar where she discovered an amazing culture and coral restoration.
After returning from service, she pursued positions in the marine science field working as an educator at a science center and as an endangered species observer on dredge ships until she decided to follow her dream of working with corals. She moved to Roatan, Honduras to earn her divemaster certification and work with Bay Islands Reef Restoration as a coral restoration intern. She now takes advantage of every opportunity to dive and is happy she can combine her love for agriculture and the underwater world to be a restoration associate with CRF™.
From a young age going to the beach with her mother, Nikkie has always been intrigued with the underwater world. She received her bachelor’s degree in biological science from Florida State University with a focus on marine biology. She interned in the Florida Keys where she discovered scientific diving, which has become one of her passions. She knew she would be back to the Keys one day to help restore the reefs.
Nikkie is trained as an AAUS Scientific Diver and as a PADI Divemaster. She previously worked for the Georgia Aquarium as well as the State of Florida as an environmental specialist focusing on oyster and seagrass monitoring. During her free time, she enjoys diving as much as she can, spearing lionfish, traveling, and exploring the outdoors. She is thrilled to be a part of the CRF™ team to help restore coral reef ecosystems for future generations to enjoy.
"Bringing It Back" Editorial Intern
Krista is from Quincy, Massachusetts and is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington with degrees in Marine Biology and Psychology as well as a minor in Neuroscience. She grew up on the ocean and first got the conservation bug when she watched as horseshoe crabs and seagrass beds near her home began to disappear. Throughout her undergraduate career, she took an interest in animal behavior and neurobiology and most recently conducted research in lifespan changes in the brains of sharks. She has worked closely with the New England Aquarium as an aquarist intern and conservation volunteer, as well as the National Estuarine Research Reserve in Homer, Alaska studying the foraging ecology of sea otters. In terms of diving, she got certified in high school but attributes her passion for the sport to her internship with the Boston Sea Rovers. Most recently, she obtained her PADI Divemaster certification as well as AAUS scientific diver and was proud to serve as the President of her university’s SCUBA Club. Krista is overjoyed to finally combine her passions of marine conservation, diving, and outreach to make lasting impacts on the local reef systems through her internship with the Coral Restoration Foundation™!