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"Diving In" to April 2020 with the Coral Chronicles


In light of COVID-19, CRF™ has cancelled all public programs which comprise of our volunteer and dive programs. Unfortunately, many dive program groups and organizations who had planned a visit to the Keys to help us restore our coral reefs are now unable to do so. We’d like to highlight a few groups that were planning a visit before coronavirus took hold.

Past dive and snorkel program participants. © Coral Restoration Foundation™

A group of students from University of Dallas were actually traveling to the Keys when we made the decision for the safety of our staff, community, and volunteers to we cancel water-based activities. While they were disappointed about missing a trip out to our nursery and the reef, they were in high spirits after we gave them a CRF™ general presentation and performed some land-based training with them like we would normally do before a dive. University of Dallas brings a group of students down each year, and we hope that they can make it back to the Keys for a full dive program when we continue all public programs!

“Coronavirus has been tough - for our volunteers who want to be on the water instead of sitting at home, for the excited divers who had planned on a dive program this spring and early summer and had to cancel, and for the uncertainty of when we’ll be able to get back on the water,” said CRF™ Volunteer and Dive Program Coordinator Roxane Boonstra. “That being said, we know that getting volunteers back on the water and the dive programs up and running again is just a matter of time! Having healthy people making a difference for a healthier planet is what we’re looking forward to.”

Ransom Everglades School in Miami is another school who had to cancel two dive programs with us. CRF™ Lead Intern Nik Varley hosted a virtual presentation for Ransom Everglades students this past week. They were so excited to dive into the world of coral restoration with us. Hopefully these students can join us in the water soon.

Goshen High school, the alma mater of our Special Projects Coordinator Alex Neufeld, also had to cancel their annual snorkel trip with CRF™. While snorkelers don’t have the same hands-on restoration experience that SCUBA divers do, they are just as important in spreading a positive ocean awareness message!

Past dive program participants in our Coral Nursery. © Coral Restoration Foundation™

Ocean Matters is a wonderful team of marine biologists, naturalists, and scuba instructors who bring high school students to endangered marine ecosystems for service-learning projects involving scuba diving. The organization designs projects in conjunction with local conservation organizations, universities, and NGOs to meaningfully address pressing issues facing the ocean.

We welcomed Ocean Matters last year for a unique multi-day summer camp program. They had an exciting trip last year, helping us complete our outplanting goals at a NOAA North Dry Rocks site!

After such a fun program in 2019, we were looking forward to welcoming students again this June. Due to safety, they won’t make it down to the Keys this year. The CRF™ team and Ocean Matters are looking forward to their next trip in 2021!

Looking forward to the rest of 2020, we’re hopeful that we can resume programs when safe to accommodate the range of groups and organizations that we have scheduled for dive programs.



In the first couple months of 2020, a few local dive shops partnered with CRF™ for new public dive programs!

We want to give a warm welcome to Island Venture and SNUBA.

Photos courtesy of Island Venture (top) and SNUBA (bottom).

Island Ventures is a local dive shop based in Key Largo, Florida. Located at mile marker 103, they teach everything from discover diving courses up to dive master and offer small tour sizes for a truly unique experience.

All the way down in Key West, we have SNUBA. 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.

Both of these shops will begin running Coral Restoration Dive Programs in collaboration with CRF™. On a traditional dive program, groups 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 reefs with hands-on practice.

After lunch, groups join one of our partnered dive shops and members of the CRF™ team to head out to our nursery and then to one of the reefs we work on.

The dive shops we work with are an integral part of our public programs. We couldn’t accommodate the groups that we do without their help and commitment to marine conservation.



Looking for fun, educational activities to do at home with your student? CRF™ has a series of educational packs available on our website for students of all ages to learn about coral and marine science while having hands-on fun!

This week, we're featuring Creating CaCo3.

Elkhorn on the Florida Reef Tract. © Alex Neufeld/Coral Restoration Foundation™

This activity uses chemistry demonstrations to teach students about the production of coral skeletons. The demonstration shows that under certain conditions, solid materials can be extracted from a solution. The source of coral reef skeletons, and therefore reef rocks themselves, is material dissolved in seawater.

Once completed, students will be able to explain the role of transforming calcium carbonate from seawater to coral reef skeleton.

This activity pack can be adapted to a single day or longer, with the inclusion of art, math, and language arts extensions. And as with all of our activity packs, you can adjust Creating CaCo3 for students K-12!

You'll need:

· 6 jars

· 1 tsp of flour, sugar, salt, sand, and baby powder

· 1 cup vinegar

· 1 stick of chalk

· 7 tsp baking soda

· Two 250ml containers

· One 500ml container

· Hammer

Click here to access the activity pack. All you have to do is enter your basic contact information, and you’ll be immediately directed to download this activity pack.

To access a complete list of CRF™ activity packs, click here.


"Diving In" 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™!

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