As the summer ramps up, Coral Restoration Foundation™ has hosted several public and private dive programs, many of which were multi-day adventures! Read on for details about what these incredible divers accomplished and how passionate individuals are making a tangible difference for life in our oceans....
CRF™ & Sea Dwellers
Coral Restoration Foundation™ hosted a great dive program at Sea Dwellers in June where 15 divers and two snorkelers helped clean eight coral trees in the Tavernier coral nursery. Two of our newest CRF™ interns participated as Coral Crew on their first-ever dive program.
Conditions in the nursery were formidable. The strong current gave all the divers a challenge while cleaning for the first dive of the day. For the second dive, everyone got a leisurely tour of Pickles Reef where they found a baby nurse shark and tons of cute, freshly outplanted corals.
CRF™ & Rainbow Reef
On Tuesday, June 20th, Coral Restoration Foundation™ teamed up with the staff at Rainbow Reef Dive Center to train their crew on nursery tree cleaning and outplanting staghorn corals. As part of an ongoing working relationship with their associated non-profit, Ocean Conservation Foundation, the Rainbow Reef staff are contributing to reef resilience where they work every day by caring for corals and completing dives against debris. The team returned three clusters of 25 corals. The 14 staff members had a great time and are looking forward to getting more of their instructors trained to outplant with CRF.
CRF™ & Seminole Scuba
On Saturday, June 24th, and Sunday, June 25th, a group from Seminole SCUBA in Orlando arrived for a two-day adventure. The group of 18 traveled to dive the Florida Keys and were excited to do a dive to give back and do something different. During the morning education session, they presented the coral crew with a check from their yearly fundraiser for $2,200. The divers on the trip also made a virtual donation for an additional $2,000 bringing their grand total donation to $4,200!
Participants got a long tour to see all the species housed in the Tavernier Nursery, visiting the coral rescues being held in the gene bank (read about the coral rescue here!). The waves were too large on Saturday, so the group cleaned nine coral trees in the nursery then toured the reef searching for new and two-year-old staghorn and elkhorn outplants. One of the employees from Seminole said it was the healthiest reef she has seen in the Keys for a long time, showing that the hard work of previous dive programs is making an impact on a reef-sized scale. On day two, the morning conditions were perfect! After cleaning an additional nine coral trees, Seminole SCUBA divers were able to outplant three clusters of 20 corals each. After the corals were attached to the reef, a photomosaic was taken of all the newly added staghorn from the Rainbow Reef staff and Seminole group, capturing a total of 135 coral fragments for the week.
CRF™ & The Road Less Traveled
Another multi-day private Dive Program adventure took place with a group of eight high school students from The Road Less Traveled from Sunday, June 25th to Wednesday, June 28th. On the first day, the students and their three guides visited the nursery, cleaned coral trees, and saw the outplants at the reef. The following day, divers completed a buoyancy obstacle course to demonstrate the skills needed to complete science underwater. On day three, divers got to outplant their own corals onto the reef. On the final day, the students got to practice monitoring their outplanted corals by counting the number of corals they attached to the reef the previous day. After counting three times each, they realized that monitoring is a lot harder than it seems! By exposing young adults to science on SCUBA, CRF™ is helping to create the next generation of underwater scientists.
On Monday, June 26th, a volunteer training charter was launched to Carysfort Nursery as a part of the Coral Call, an all-hands-on-deck CRF™ event to accomplish needed maintenance each month. As part of the Coral Call, our volunteer coordinator, Emma, was able to get out to the nursery with volunteers she has communicated with for weeks about paperwork and forms. Meeting her was a highlight for the newly recruited volunteers. The five volunteers worked on Coral Tree installation and cleaning, nursery navigation, and placing monofilament loops on elkhorn coral to rehang them in a fresh Coral Tree.
Weekly dive programs at Sea Base have finished outplanting at Alligator Reef with a total of 404 staghorn corals!
There are loads of opportunities coming up to participate in coral tree nursery maintenance and reef monitoring on Coral Restoration Foundation™ dive programs. Check out the calendar for dates!
DIVING IN CONTENT CREATOR
Sage grew up landlocked in Colorado but was fortunate to travel to the ocean growing up. Her interest in the unique creatures she found inspired her to start her marine science journey by volunteering at the Denver Aquarium. She attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa, earning a bachelor's of science degree in marine biology in 2019. After graduating and moving an island over to Kauai, she earned her PADI open water SCUBA instructor certification in order to spend as much time as possible underwater while searching for her next career step. After spending months searching, Sage found the internship at CRF and realized this opportunity was too good to pass up and moved to the Florida Keys. She is ready to make a difference at the forefront of active reef restoration made possible through CRF internship.