SMALL YET MIGHTY
On October 11th, we held a public dive program facilitated by Rainbow Reef and their crew! Our participants arrived that morning knowing that high winds might cancel our afternoon dives to outplant corals. However, upon completion of their PADI AWARE Coral Conservation Certification paperwork, conditions turned to our favor! We were able to reintroduce 31 corals onto Pickles Reef with the combined efforts of five participants.
With such a small group size, participants enjoyed a more personal experience as they were able to outplant their own cluster with personal assistance from one of our CRF™ coral crew members.
While the group was small, they were a lively bunch, so we were happy to get to interact with them one-on-one. When reflecting on her restoration experience, participant Deana says:
“Hank and I had a fabulous day helping CRF™ plant coral yesterday. Your education program in the morning and the dive operation in the afternoon were well run and very informative. This is a day I will never forget, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity. I don’t know if I will get the opportunity to do this again. I surely hope so. But if I don’t, I’m still walking away with more knowledge and a better understanding of the criticality of what you do; and my friend circle is definitely going to hear about it and how important it is.”
CAC COMES TO THE SEA
Collegiate Academy’s Ocean Science class joined us for a multi-day dive program. CAC travelled all the way down from Colorado for a fun approach to learning about corals. These divers, ranging from 8th graders to seniors in high school, succeeded in obtaining their PADI CRF™ Coral Restoration Distinctive Specialty Certification over the course of these two days.
The students, their instructors, and chaperones engaged in an informational presentation given by Roxane, our Dive Program and Volunteer Coordinator, in the morning, and then students took to the sea aboard Sea Dweller Charters in the afternoon. They cleaned coral trees in our nursery, and outplanted staghorn corals onto Pickles Reef. By their second day of restoring corals, the students were beginning to understand the amount of effort it takes to restore reefs and the importance of doing so.
It’s always a pleasure working with younger groups of people because of their innate curiosity for our natural environment. , With this group in particular, we were able to see their interest for coral restoration grow over the course of a multi-day program. CAC’s SCUBA instructor, Adam Knudsen, shared a great review of the group’s mindset following their time with CRF™:
“Volunteering with you was a high point as an educator and scuba instructor. When we got back to school Thursday morning, all of the kids were really bonded, and there is a sense of closeness among them all now.”
VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION PARTY
Coral Restoration Foundation truly cannot thank our volunteers enough for all of the effort they put into aiding our mission… but we can try! CRF™ volunteers support us in a plethora of ways that we appreciate every day. From land activities, such as data entry and building Coral Trees, to joining us underwater for restoration work including coral nursery maintenance, outplanting, and assisting with dive programs, we are so grateful for the time that our volunteers donate to CRF™.
To acknowledge our top-notch volunteers, we held a Halloween-themed volunteer appreciation party! The festivities took place the first weekend in November, and we all had a wicked good time. Volunteers, interns, staff members, and even some furry friends came out to celebrate, enjoy refreshments, and get one more use out of their favorite Halloween costumes. There was even a special homemade brew on tap made by one of our volunteers to commemorate the occasion called “Palmata Pale Ale”.
While the costumes, music, and buffet were all excellent, our favorite part was having an event to interact and get to know each other in a new and fun environment! If this sounds like a good time to you, we would love to have you as a member of our team and attend our next volunteer party!
KEY DIVE PROGRAM
This fall, we're focusing on our Key West Dive Programs, and we invite everyone to join us in our coral restoration work in the Lower Keys. The next restoration adventure in the Lower Keys is scheduled for Sunday, December 8th. Begin your morning with Coral Restoration Foundation™ for an educational discussion about our work, and then apply this knowledge in the water with CRF™ and Captain’s Corner for a hands-on, tailored SCUBA diving or snorkeling program! Our programs are designed to suit all levels, so ocean lovers of any age can have a positive impact.
Photo courtesy of Captain's Corner
Key West Nursery. © Tiffany Duong/Coral Restoration Foundation™
Please note: all in-water activities are weather dependent.