NEW RESTORATION PROGRAM INTERNS
As our goals at CRF™ continue to expand, so does our hard-working team! This month we welcome two new program interns into our restoration department, Will Stange and Sol Yoder. These two interns will specialize in restoration efforts in the Upper and Lower Keys. Sol will help lead restoration efforts and nursery expansions in the lower keys, while Will focuses on projects in the upper keys. They each are responsible for various tasks that keep the department organized and running smoothly. For example, keeping inventory of restoration materials, assembling important structures for our nurseries, nursery expansions, keeping inventory of harvestable coral trees, and many long days on the water!
Sol and Will are beginning their 3rd internship term as Restoration Program Interns! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
KEY WEST RESTORATION PROGRAM INTERN
Working as a restoration program intern for Key West is particularly exciting because of our nursery expansion plans! In our newest coral nursery Looe Key, we plan to install 60 new trees in the next four months. This means many long days on the water lie ahead for Sol, as this expansion will be one of her main projects as a Key West intern. We will also be introducing non-acroporid species in our Looe Key nursery, boulder corals! Boulder corals are foundational, stabilizing, corals on the reef and we are ready to introduce them to our nurseries in the lower keys, to eventually outplant fragments of them.
CRF™ currently outplants 2 species of boulder coral and Sol will be helping our team expand our efforts by adding new boulder coral trees to our Looe Key Nursery! ©Coral REstoration Foundation™
So, what’s it like being a Key West Restoration Program Intern? CRF™ interns spend at least 3-4 days a week diving when the conditions are favorable, these days on the water are what keep our nurseries maintained and corals going back out to the reef! We thought we’d ask Sol how her experience has been so far, and what made her want to specialize in Key West restoration efforts.
“Our busiest season of the year was Summer, and that prepared me for anything and everything.
"I’m very excited to continue this journey and learn as much as possible from my amazing mentors. I logged over 90 dives on workboats focusing on restoration from May to August. Having that experience sure did wash me out on some days but for the most part, it motivated me to keep going as part of the restoration team!" - Sol Yoder, Key West Restoration Program Intern
"I wanted to join the Key West team because of the important work that is being conducted in the lower keys, right now we only have one staff member leading the operation in Key West. The work that involves expanding Looe Key nursery and Key West nursery is enough for a full crew! I’m excited to get to work and install as many trees as we can.”
Diving is a large part of the internship program at CRF™, and we’re happy to hear our interns are getting the most out of their experience. As our Key West team expands, so does the amount of work, we are ready to set up our team for success on the water.
UPPER KEYS RESTORATION PROGRAM INTERN
Will Stange is our newest Restoration Program intern for the Upper Keys. After three years of living in Key Largo working with CRF™ gives him confidence and hope for the future of his local reef. He completed his polyp round in the spring (Jan-Apr) and was starving for more outplant days. During his lead term (May - Aug) he got them, but this fall term (Sept-Dec) will put all his new restoration skills to the test.
Will begins his third internship round and 9th month with CRF™ as our Upper Keys Restoration Program Intern. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
Looking towards the fall and the end of the year here in Key Largo Will thought there would be no better way to spend it than on the water restoring corals as a Restoration Program Intern with CRF™. As Restoration Program Intern, Will has the unique opportunity to work on specialized projects alongside our restoration team.
He is currently developing a more streamlined system for Coral Tree™ production and he is working with our boulder coral experts to experiment with new tree designs that may increase our carrying capacity in our nurseries without taking up more space on the ocean floor!
He’s also recently had the opportunity to visit our Looe Key nursery in the lower keys which is growing tremendously this year. He and our restoration team added 5 more new Coral Trees™ to the nursery.
“It was really cool to see a nursery full of brand new trees and to be able to clean practically the whole nursery with just a few divers.” Said Will, “CRF has shown me the incredible amount of work a few talented and wonderfully smart people can do. It’s been amazing meeting the incredible people around CRF, the conservation minded community of the Florida Keys, and to be able to work on such an astonishing mission. I’m so grateful to be where I am and privileged to work in the ways I do.”
Bringing it Back Editorial Interns
Will Stange grew up in Princeton, NJ and is a graduate of Cornell University. As an
undergraduate he competed on the Varsity swim team and in the U.S. 2016 Olympic trials. A reverence for nature and the spark he felt when submerged in the brine during summertime open water ocean races motivated Will to aspire to a career in ocean conservation. After earning his BS in marine ecology Will moved to Key Largo where he found work at local restaurants at night so he could earn his dive certifications by day. Will feels grateful for the past two years spent working as a divemaster on Key Largo where he has been able to witness firsthand what he had previously only seen in books or documentaries. As part of the CRF team Will is excited to give everything he can towards restoring our nations iconic barrier reefs.
Sol Yoder has always had an appreciation for the natural world. As a young teenager, she
lived on the coast of Ecuador and visited the Galapagos Islands for the first time. This experience not only enhanced her interest and love for the ocean and wildlife, but put her on the path to pursue a career in marine biology. She became SCUBA certified at 18, and achieved her PADI Instructor rating by 21. She has worked as a PADI professional while also graduating with her B.S in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University. Since graduating from FAU, Sol has assisted in various wildlife studies that focus on the conservation of species, such as sea turtles, manta rays, and now corals. She couldn’t be more excited to be part of CRF and help restore Florida’s coral reef!
Coral Chronicles Editor
Madalen Howard is CRF's Communications and Outreach Coordinator. She comes to CRF™ via a winding road from the Tennessee hills, to the South Carolina low country, ending here in Florida’s Coral Reef. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology and a Minor in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston in 2016. Her experience ranges from field research to education, marketing and digital communications.
With CRF™ Madalen creates inclusive pathways to scientific discovery through content creation and by building and fostering relationships with press, digital media creators, and local community members. Throughout her life Madalen has had a skill connecting people with nature, and is excited to bring people into the world of coral restoration.