Updated: Aug 6
PLANTING ON PICKLES
On July 15th, six volunteers joined the Coral Crew for a dive program to learn more about how we're helping restore coral reefs here in the Keys. Following a morning full of hands-on training and presentations led by our Dive Program Intern Darcy, the socially-distant crew headed to Island Ventures dive shop in Key Largo to start their dives.
CRF™ Dive Program Intern, Darcy, presents to dive program participants. © Coral Restoration Foundation™
The crew headed to our Tavernier Nursery on the first dive where they got a tour of our staghorn and elkhorn Coral Trees. They then helped us clean a few these Coral Trees by removing bivalves, fire coral, and algae. We do this to make sure the corals have no competition, lots of room to grow, and to make sure the trees aren’t weighed down.
After our nursery dive, they drove the short distance to Pickles Reef where the team put their restoration skills to the test. By the end of the dive, the group returned around 30 corals to their natural habitat! One of CRF's new summer interns, Bailey, joined for her first Dive Program experience.
“Knowing that the general public is interested in the work that CRF™ does is amazing. It is so important to get others involved so that we can continue to help reefs recover and thrive!” said Bailey, CRF™ Intern.
We couldn’t have asked for a better group of divers, and we're so excited to be able to safely offer Dive Programs this summer!
DIVE IN WITH US (SAFELY)!
We've been getting back into the swing of things with our Dive Programs following our new COVID-19 safety protocols and social distancing measures. We recently hosted a group through Silent World on July 12th, who participated in their first ever Dive Program with us!
After their morning learning about the importance of coral reefs and how to support our mission, it was off to the water. Despite unpredictable weather conditions, the group was able to assist with nursery maintenance, which is critical to our work. While they were not able to directly outplant due to less-than-favorable conditions, this group was able to see outplanted corals from previous trips in Carysfort Nursery.
Dive Program participants work together to clean a tree in the Carysfort Nursery. © Darcy Justin/Coral Restoration Foundation™
How can you participate?
If you're interested in getting involved with CRF™ through our dive programs, please visit our website for dates and trip details. When you find the perfect date for your visit, use the sign-up link to reserve your spot. If you can't find a dive program that suits you, would like to set up a private program with us, or have any other questions, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (305) 453-7030.
EAGLE SCOUTS INSTALL BOULDER TREES
This past Monday and Tuesday, Eagle Scout-to-be, Apolo Lagarde IV, along with members of the CRF™ team, set out to Carysfort nursery to install 4 newly designed boulder trees. The new design that Apolo engineered with help from his father and scout team places emphasis on a reinforced, sturdy structure that ensures no coral gets left behind!
Top: Apolo and the Boy Scout team in Carysfort Nursery. Bottom: Boulder tree after installation in Carysfort Nursery. © Apolo Lagarde V
Apolo is working with the Coral Restoration Foundation™ as his capstone service project to earn the title of Eagle Scout. Apolo explains that in order to achieve the title of Eagle Scout, he must first complete a community service requirement. As a Miami native, Apolo has always been interested in marine life and wants to focus his efforts on something near and dear to him: our reef ecosystem. This desire to save the corals brought him to CRF and we are so glad to have him help us along on our mission.
“I was so pleased with how well CRF™ has treated me and my team throughout this process! They were helpful and professional, and I am very impressed with how well the organization manages their nursery and trees”, said Apolo.
We are so excited to say that we have helped Apolo successfully install 4 boulder trees in our Carysfort Nursery!
KEEP CELEBRATING WITH US!
Did you miss Coralpalooza™ on June 6? Fret not! All of the exciting interviews, videos, and activities will be available through August 25, 2020! Register to access exclusive content from CRF™ and our event partners.
If you participated live and just couldn't get enough, click here to revisit Coralpalooza™ any time until August 25, 2020.
"Diving In" Editorial Interns
Katie graduated from Towson University in 2019 where she earned a B.S. in Psychology and Animal Behavior. Her love for the water and wildlife began at an early age boating in the waters of her home city, Baltimore, Maryland. During her college career, Katie shared her passion for conservation by volunteering at the National Aquarium and Maryland Zoo. Katie has had the amazing opportunity to travel abroad to sixteen different countries. Discovering the challenges facing reefs ignited her curiosity for coral conservation. She became scuba certified through an Operation Wallacea expedition to South Africa in 2017 and is now PADI Rescue certified. Katie is excited to gain hands-on experience in coral restoration and to make a positive impact on the ecosystem which is home to 25% of marine life.
Aliah is a rising senior at Tulane University in New Orleans majoring in Psychology with minors in Marine Biology and Spanish. Originally from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, she is constantly hopping around the globe. As an artist, Aliah originally planned to pursue a career in fashion design. However, she very quickly discovered she had very little interest in the industry. She began to connect more with the marine world after taking her first marine biology class as a senior in high school. She gained a deep appreciation for the ocean, and an interest in sharks and corals specifically. Her love and passion for the ocean has led her to places like Belize, Indonesia, Lombok, and Australia, participating in both reef conservation and underwater exploration. Aliah sees the ocean as her wonderland, and with each dive grows “curiouser and curiouser”. Constantly on the move, Aliah loves to experience new cultures, people, and places. She is looking forward to learning as much as she can while here at CRF!
Growing up on a lake in North Carolina, Bailey has felt connected to the water for as long as she can remember. She got SCUBA certified when she was ten years old and started taking annual diving trips to Florida where she saw first-hand the decline of coral reefs in the Keys. Knowing that she wanted to make a career in marine conservation, she joined an Operation Wallacea expedition to Greece where she learned her first field work skills. Bailey graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019 with a major in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Marine Science. During her four years there, she worked as a research assistant investigating how the calcium carbonate skeleton of corals are affected by ocean warming and acidification. She worked as a summer camp educator at the Discovery Place Nature Museum in North Carolina, teaching students about the natural environment and how to protect it. Bailey is so excited for the opportunity to work with Coral Restoration Foundation™ contributing to its mission of restoring coral reefs.