ROUGH WEATHER AHEAD!
When working with divers in the water, you often find yourself at the mercy of Mother Nature and must decide if conditions are safe for diving. Monitoring weather and diving conditions is crucial for the safety of our divers and the coral species we return to our reefs. Our public dive programs are held to strict weather and safety standards ensuring the effectiveness of our coral restoration.
Giant striding into the Coral Restoration Foundation™ nursery. ©Madalen Howard/Coral Restoration Foundation™
Fortunately, all is not lost if boats are canceled! Our Exploration Center hosts the morning education portion of our Dive Programs where participants learn about coral ecology, coral restoration, and what they can do to make a positive impact on coral reefs in their daily lives. In addition to an educational presentation, participants get hands-on experience with coral nursery maintenance and coral outplanting techniques!
Divers practice proper, safe, and effective coral restoration techniques. ©Madalen Howard/Coral Restoration Foundation™
As unfortunate as it may be when rough weather keeps us on land, the knowledge and experience gained through the morning education session is invaluable. It is an opportunity to share with the public what CRF™ is all about and give participants the hands-on training they need to come back and join us again in the future!
Divers practice restoration on a paper-mache model reef before putting their skills to the test in the ocean. ©Sara Nilsson/Coral Restoration Foundation™
TRAINING TO BE A SHORT TERM CORAL RESTORATION DIVER
As a part of our dive programs, a member of the Coral Restoration Foundation™ team teaches participants all about our work. This includes both a presentation about coral reefs, the threats they face, and hands-on practice for their dives in the afternoon. After the training session participants are ready to hop on a boat and help us in our coral nurseries and restoring the reef!
Training makes restoration work underwater more productive and successful. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
At our nursery maintenance station, participants are taught to clean biofoul, the accumulation of organic matter and microorganisms, from our coral trees. Biofoul can directly threaten corals' health and development by competing for space and nutrients and increasing the corals' susceptibility to disease. It also weighs the tree down, which, if left unchecked, would require us to add extra floats to keep them properly suspended in the water column or even replace the tree entirely.
Our team teaches divers to maintain coral trees, understand reef ecology, and properly outplant corals. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
At our coral outplanting station, participants practice restoration skills with the aid of an artificial reefscape, kinetic sand, and playdough, each of which imitates their underwater counterpart: the reef substrate, algae, and non-toxic marine epoxy respectively. This allows us to show participants effective outplanting techniques and exactly what they have to do once they get underwater.
Training is crucial for participants to be safe and effectively restore coral. It also acts as an opportunity for us to teach people about their impact on the reef system and how they can continue to make a difference once they leave our headquarters.
RESOURCES FOR YOU
BE THE FACE OF CORALPALOOZA™ 2021
We're looking for inspiring 10-second videos that tell the world about how you #CHOOSEYOURCHANGE! Tell us about an easy ecofriendly change you have made to help save coral reefs and upload it on our website!
Then, tune into Coralpalooza™ Digital 2021 on June 6th to see your video shared with our coral loving community!
Need an example of a #ChooseYourChange video? Madalen is here to show you!
NATIONAL BATTLING BIOFOUL STUDENT CHALLENGE
This year, for our national student challenge, we are tackling a new problem – biofouling!
Read the full press release and register here!
"Diving In" Editorial Intern
Chris Reynolds is from Wilmington, North Carolina and is currently pursuing a B.A. in International Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He began SCUBA diving while stationed in Georgia for the United States Marine Corps, and was immediately hooked on seeking new adventures under the surface and exploring the unique watery landscapes and ecosystems that the ocean has to offer.
Chris has always been passionate about giving back to nature and the community, so when he heard about Coral Restoration Foundation's internship, he knew that this was his opportunity to dive with a purpose and give back to the incredible coral reefs that he has come to love and admire. Chris hopes to gain new perspectives and hands-on experience in underwater conservation that he can carry with him beyond CRF™ and continue to make a positive impact on the oceans and coral reefs around the world.