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"Diving In" to June 2021 with the Coral Chronicles

Updated: Sep 7, 2021


Coralpalooza™ is the biggest coral reef restoration event on the planet and this year we made it even bigger, hosting two full days of celebration!

On June 5th, 130 people gathered throughout the Florida Keys for Coralpalooza™ Dive Day, ready to assist our mission in any way they could! Unfortunately, fierce winds, big waves, and heavy surface surge prevented our teams from returning corals to the reef, but it did not stop us from making an impact together! Coralpalooza™ participants still made it onto the water to explore our coral nurseries, maintain coral trees, and check in on past coral outplants.

Coralpalooza™ Dive Day June 5th 2021 ©Sami Miller/Coral Restoration Foundation™

On Saturday morning we had divers stationed at eight different dive shops all over the Florida Keys from Key Largo to Key West. This armada of boats visited both our Tavernier and Carysfort Nurseries. Divers eagerly jumped in the water to explore and helped to maintain our Coral Trees to celebrate World Oceans Day!

“It was rewarding to be a part of such large-scale massive action with hundreds of people taking care of thousands of corals in our nurseries” said Charis Peterson Dive Program Intern.

©Sami Miller/Coral Restoration Foundation™

Producing massive numbers of corals every year, our nurseries are always grateful for TLC from divers and snorkelers joining our mission. In addition to doing important work in our nurseries, some Coralpalooza™ participants also visited active reef restoration sites. We checked in on a select few of the thousands of corals that CRF™ has returned to the reef. It was nice to take a step back and look at all the progress we have made over the years.

©Sami Miller/Coral Restoration Foundation™

Participants and Coral Crew alike had an amazing time seeing the animals that depend on corals for survival: yellow tailed damselfish swimming in and out of the staghorn coral thickets, shrimp hiding underneath their branches, and even trunkfish floating next to smaller more recently returned corals. The group in Key West saw dozens of sting rays, a spotted eagle ray, and dolphins!

“Working with these animals (corals) day-to-day, it can be easy to forget how much of an impact we’re actually making. The chance to go out and just appreciate how far we have come was amazing. It’s incredible to see the change in the reef as our outplants continue to repopulate it" said Charis Peterson.

Coral Crew and Coralpalooza™ Divers ready to head out on the water for Coralpalooza™ Dive Day 2021! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

Sharing these moments with our community is a huge motivator for our team at CRF™. We get to watch as everyday people like us explore a rare and beautiful ecosystem they love. It connects us back to the wonder that inspired us to become coral restoration scientists in the first place.



Following Coralpalooza™ Dive Day we hosted Coralpalooza™ Digital! Coralpalooza™ Digital was born in 2020 to celebrate coral reefs safely during the COVID-19 pandemic and has proven to be an amazing way to connect with coral champions across the globe! This year we hosted 1,405 registrants from 34 different countries!

This year we had speakers from a range of spaces in coral restoration. We heard from artists, scientists, musicians, youth leaders, activists, and everyday people who just love coral reefs!

Some highlights included interviews with members of the Cousteau family,

Coralmorphologic, and The Ocean of Colour, presentations about freezing coral sperm and saving florida's last elkhorn corals, and a crowd favorite was the AcropoRAP by Blake Rules, an original rap song accompanied by a music video produced by our talented CRF™ interns!

If you missed the event on Sunday, don’t fret: Coralpalooza™ Digital 2021 will remain open until the end of the summer! There are hours of content for all ages and knowledge levels, from videos for kids hosted by our very own Captain Coral to scientific experts speaking on spawning! You can even commemorate the celebration and buy a super soft 100% cotton Coralpalooza™ t-shirt when you log in!

Another year, another successful Coralpalooza™. Thank you all so much for being a part of this monumental event. We can’t wait to see you again next year!



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

Charis grew up in Michigan where her curiosity for the underwater world started in the local rivers and lakes. She always had a passion for marine biology. While she was in high school, her family unexpectedly had to relocate to coastal Georgia. Moving across the country allowed her to pursue her passion. After learning about the threats and harm humans have caused to coral reefs, she decided she did not want to just study coral reefs, but she wanted to be a part of the solution.

Charis is a recent graduate from the University of Houston-Clear Lake with a M.S. in Biotechnology and a concentration in Molecular Biotechnology. She received her B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Coastal Ecology from the College of Coastal Georgia in 2017. She is a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and has enjoyed working as a dive professional in the British Virgin Islands and the Florida Keys. Charis is excited to intern with CRF™ because she is passionate about educating the public on how to protect our oceans.

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