PERFECTING THE ART OF DIVE PROGRAMS
Intern training is ramping up. They have begun to refine their restoration and presentation skills! Our lead interns are expected to give a detailed and engaging coral ecology presentations to many different audiences. They also lead Dive Program participants through restoration work.
To help everyone succeed, we hold training sessions to review the finer points of the Dive Program presentation and hands-on training. In this special session, the newest interns lead a practice dive program for the lead and program interns. Our more seasoned interns offer constructive criticism to help their colleagues improve.
Lead interns Elly and Lindsey practice leading the hands-on coral restoration training for a Dive Program. ©Christopher Reynolds/Coral Restoration Foundation™
Leading Dive Programs helps our interns understand the best ways to effectively communicate the techniques and science knowledge associated with coral restoration. When communicating with people who have never had the opportunity to work directly with corals, it is important to make sure they feel confident in their new skills! Our goal for every Dive Program is that our divers leave feeling accomplished and knowing they really made a difference for coral reefs!
A PEEK INSIDE OUR REEF BUILDING TOOLBOX
For each Dive Program we run, there is a tremendous amount of behind the scenes prep work that occurs to ensure the program runs smoothly and efficiently, beginning with the correspondence between CRF™ and the dive charters.
We establish how many participants have registered for the program, make sure all the proper paperwork is completed, and the pack the tools we need! Those tools include: a chisel and brushes used to clean biofoul from Coral Trees™ in our nurseries; hammers, used to clear algae from an area on the reef; monofilament for attaching newly fragmented corals to Coral Trees™; coral genotype tags to keep track of each individual; and a two part marine epoxy used to secure corals on the reef!
The necessary tools for a Dive Program, hammers, chisels, brushes, tags, monofilament, and apoxy! ©Christopher Reynolds/Coral Restoration Foundation™
Each person needs one of each of these tools, so a dive program with just 10 participants can still have a few baskets worth of tools to be transported. Organizing and caring for all our restoration tools is an important step in making sure our divers are set up for success!
UNDERWATER DATA COLLECTION
Coral Restoration Foundation™ is full of scientists and there is always paperwork to be done, even underwater! We need to keep track of our work while diving so we created data sheets that come with us on every boat trip.
Paperwork is key in recording data during our Dive Programs. ©Christopher Reynolds/Coral Restoration Foundation™
These data sheets keep track of every detail of our work; which tree we harvest from on a given day, how many genotypes were added to our nursery, and where on Florida’s Coral Reef the corals are returned!
Then, we have the added challenge of tracking this information while SCUBA diving. The solution? Data sheets printed on waterproof paper, which can be taken into the ocean and written on with pencil!
Science Program Manager Amelia Moura tracks coral growth using a pencil and underwater paper. ©Alex Neufeld/Coral Restoration Foundation™
Once back on dry land our data is entered into our master database for our science and restoration teams to analyze. With this data, we continue to improve our coral restoration and nursery monitoring procedures, and ultimately improve upon our Dive Programs!
JOIN OUR TEAM
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!
Madalen Howard is CRF's Marketing Associate. Madalen 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, and communications.
Madalen spent the last 4 years as a Field Instructor and Social Media Strategist for MarineLab Environmental Education Center. Here she was able to study and teach marine ecology, while snorkeling through mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs every day. While at MarineLab she combined her education and research background, entered the world of communications, and developed MarineLab’s social media department from the ground up.
Throughout her life Madalen has had a skill connecting people with nature. With CRF™, she is excited to bring people into the world of coral restoration, creating inclusive pathways to scientific discovery.
"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.