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"Diving In" to June with the Coral Chronicles

CORALPALOOZA™ 2023

We know you are all waiting with baited breath for the final numbers on Coralpalooza 2023 but you'll have to wait just one more we as we gather all the data from our many collaborators and volunteers. Needless to say this year was an amazing success and we are so thankful for our Coral Community!

 

Revolutionizing Coral Reef Restoration: CRF™ Joins Forces with Influencers, Dive Shops, and Snorkelers to Maximize Community Involvement and Promote Responsible Eco-Tourism

As you may know, especially post Coralpalooza™, CRF™ is a driving force in community led restoration of coral reefs, here in Florida and globally. By joining hands with local diving businesses and inviting snorkelers to participate, we are striving to maximize community involvement. Additionally, we’ve been able to spread awareness about responsible eco-tourism with the help of media and press collaborations! When digital influencers and journalists join us on a Dive and Snorkel Program they are able to share our work with an entirely new audience, increasing our ability to help coral reefs exponentially.

Elkhorn corals growing on Carysfort Reef nearby a CRF™ restoration site ©Madalen Howard/Coral Restoration Foundation™


We recognize that restoring and protecting reefs is a collective effort. To encourage community involvement we work with prominent dive shops including Silent World, Florida Keys Dive Center, Seminole SCUBA, Rainbow Reef, ReefQuest, SeaDwellers, and Lost Reef Adventures to make our programs as frequent and accessible as possible. Moreover, we welcome snorkelers to join us, ensuring that everyone, regardless of diving experience, can have a meaningful day with CRF™ on the water.


On May 21st, we had the pleasure of hosting Carolina, a Miami local and digital media creator. Carolina documented her experience with CRF™ and will be sharing it on her Instagram account @carolinathetourguide, reaching an audience in Miami looking for new experiences in their area.

Carolina Florez aka @carolinathetourguide joined CRF™ as a snorkeller to share our mission with her followers!


Carolina’s experience was slightly different from our typical participants because she joined our team as a snorkeler and NOT a SCUBA diver! As a snorkeler she was able to swim through our Carysfort Coral Tree™ nursery getting an all-encompassing look at the sheer size of our operation. Our Carysfort Nursery is our second largest nursery and is home to 230 Coral Trees™ and over 7,000 corals. That’s quite the visual from the surface!

Carolina swims above divers helping to clean biofould from Coral Trees™ ©Madalen Howard/Coral Restoration Foundation™


Later on as a snorkeler Carolina was able to watch as divers submerged and began, frankly, struggling to work in an underwater environment completing a totally new task they’d only been trained on that morning. Though our Coral Crew takes great care of our divers and ensures all of our corals are safely and properly restored, the task itself is not everyone’s cup of tea! Carolina instead got to watch from the surface and then at her leisure swam to an older patch of restored corals that had been growing and fusing together creating a small refuge of biodiversity. She saw elkhorn and staghorn corals growing in thickets, damselfish swimming in and out of the lattice made by their branches, and even some lobsters hiding under the shade of an elkhorn plate. Snorkeling on a CRF™ program is a different experience, and that is the point! We want EVERYONE to be able to experience what we do, in whatever way is most enjoyable and comfortable for them!

Carolina watches as volunteers return endangered corals to a CRF™ restoration site. ©Madalen Howard/Coral Restoration Foundation™


Such collaborations with digital influencers help spread the word about our restoration efforts while also emphasizing the importance of responsible tourism and conservation. While the Florida Keys are a popular tourist destination and a vital part of the local economy, it is crucial to promote sustainable practices to protect the fragile marine ecosystems.


Responsibility is a fundamental aspect of conservation and we greatly value individuals who advocate for responsible enjoyment of the ocean. Whether they are a digital influencer or passionate supporter, those efforts play a significant role in raising awareness and inspiring positive change. By engaging in the wider community and fostering responsible tourism, CRF™ aims to create a lasting impact on both the environment and local economy.

 

Coral Chronicles Editor

Madalen Howard (she/her) is CRF's Communications and Outreach Coordinator. She 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, marketing and digital communications.

With CRF™ Madalen creates inclusive pathways to scientific discovery through content creation and by building and fostering relationships with press, digital media creators, and local community members. Throughout her life Madalen has had a skill connecting people with nature, and is excited to bring people into the world of coral restoration. .

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