"Diving In"... Again to September 2020 with the Coral Chronicles

WELCOME, ANDREW!


Our Dive Program Team here at CRF™ is thrilled to welcome Andrew Ibarra to the team as the newest Dive Program Intern! What is a Dive Program Intern, you ask? This position works almost exclusively with our Dive Program Team to ensure CRF™ Dive Programs are the best they can be!


Andrew helps tent corals during spawning season 2020 as a CRF™ lead intern. © Alexander Neufeld/Coral Restoration Foundation™


At CRF™, we have three types of internships. The first is our general internship, followed by our lead internship, and ending with our program internship. General interns typically apply to be a lead interns following their first round with us, then eventually put their hats in the ring for our program internships. This internship structure gives our interns the greatest opportunity for growth within the organization as well as a look into the different departments that make up a marine conservation nonprofit.


Let's learn a little bit more about our new Dive Program Intern Andrew!


Andrew was raised in West Palm Beach, Florida and spent many hours in the Atlantic Ocean swimming and snorkeling as a child. He graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and minors in biology and mathematics. In school, he researched marine gastropods and conducted sea turtle tagging surveys.


Andrew Ibarra

"I'm extremely excited to be the newest Dive Program Intern! When I joined CRF™ as a first-round intern, I knew working with our dive programs was going to be the most fun and challenging aspect of the internship for me. I hope to have a large reach this semester with our volunteers; educating and inspiring them to make a difference for our oceans today and everyday," said Andrew.

After graduating, Andrew wanted to dive (no pun intended) into the world of marine conservation and do something to make a tangible difference for the ocean. Once he completed 50 dives in the Upper Keys and witnessed ghastly coral graveyards, struggling ecosystems, and degraded portions of the Florida Barrier Reef, Andrew was inspired to apply to CRF™ to actively help restore our beloved marine ecosystem. He is super excited to join the CRF™ family and learn a variety of skills both above and below the surface. In his spare time, Andrew loves playing any and all sports and watching Marvel movies on repeat.


We're stoked to have you on the team, Andrew!

AN ODE TO SNUBA KEY WEST

CRF™ cancelled all public programs earlier this year due to COVID-19. With increased safety measures put into place, we have reopened our Coral Restoration Dive Programs in a limited capacity!


In the first couple months of 2020, we had just announced our partnership with the local dive shop SNUBA Key West. This shop offers traditional scuba diving in addition to SNUBA – a cross between snorkeling and scuba that allows divers to breathe easily underwater relying on air from the boat. Although during CRF™ Dive Programs, participants only have the option of SCUBA diving or snorkeling.


A SNUBA boat with snorkelers. © SNUBA

We weren't able to join SNUBA Key West for many dive programs before we cancelled all public programs for the safety of our team and community. But we can't wait to collaborate with this dive shop again soon to bring Coral Restoration Dive Programs back to Key West!


What's a Coral Restoration Dive Program look like, exactly? On a traditional dive program, groups of divers join the CRF™ team in the morning for a general presentation and land-based training. This includes learning how to maintain our Coral Trees and outplanting coral onto the reef with hands-on practice.


Divers return endangered coral back to Florida's Coral Reef. © Alexander Neufeld/Coral Restoration Foundation™

After lunch, dive program participants join one of our partnered dive shops and members of the CRF™ team on a boat to our Coal Nursery to perform maintenance or collect coral from Coral Trees. On the second dive, everyone heads out to the reef to outplant coral!

The dive shops we work with are an integral part of our public programs. We couldn’t accommodate visiting divers without their help and commitment to marine conservation. We look forward to working with SNUBA Key West again soon!


JOINING KEY DIVES ONE LAST TIME


Last week, our team joined Key Dives for the last dive program of the year together! And with this group was Jack Fishman from Project Aware who captured beautiful aerial photographs of our Coral Nursery.


Aerial photograph of a CRF™ Coral Nursery. © Jack Fishman/Project Aware


Active Divers Association (ADA), a non-profit organization made up of divers dedicated to ocean stewardship and the preservation of our underwater environment, also helped restore our reefs on this dive program. Together, the group visited our Coral Nursery to do some maintenance and then returned 60 corals to the reef!


It was really refreshing to see participants eager to get involved with conservation and learn new skills while diving. These dive program participants also got to see eagle rays at the nursery and an octopus at the reef while outplanting! Overall, it was really exciting day," said CRF™ Intern Sydney Gallagher.

Aerial photograph of a CRF™ Coral Nursery. © Jack Fishman/Project Aware


We appreciate each and every dive program participant who joined us for this trip! Key Dives has been an incredible dive shop that our team has had the privilege of working with over the years. We thank the entire Key Dives team for their commitment to our coral reefs!

"Diving In" Editorial Intern


Andrew was raised in West Palm Beach, Florida and spent many hours in the Atlantic Ocean swimming and snorkeling as a child. He graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and minors in biology and mathematics. In school, he researched marine gastropods and conducted sea turtle tagging surveys. After graduating, Andrew wanted to dive (no pun intended) into the world of marine conservation and do something to make a tangible difference for the ocean. After completing 50 dives in the Upper Keys and witnessing ghastly coral graveyards, struggling ecosystems, and degraded portions of the Florida Barrier Reef, Andrew was inspired to apply to CRF™ to actively help restore our beloved marine ecosystem. He is super excited to join the CRF™ family and learn a variety of skills both above and below the surface. In his spare time, Andrew loves playing any and all sports and watching Marvel movies on repeat.

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©2020 by Coral Restoration Foundation™

Headquarters

89111 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, Florida 33070

 

Exploration Center

5 Seagate Blvd, Key Largo, Florida 33037

(Next to the Pilot House Restaurant & Marina)

(305) 453-7030

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