"Heads Up"...Again in December 2020 with the Coral Chronicles

Updated: Jan 28


2020 has been a particularly challenging year for educators. We've see remarkable adaptation and innovation arise from our team, who have truly shown their dedication to community outreach. Take a look back at some of our most memorable moments in education!

January, February, and March

Remember when virtual classrooms were only found in Sci-Fi movies, and the teacher was a hologram? We do! Back in early 2020 our in-person education programs were one of our favorite ways to connect with local schools and organizations.

In January we visited Coral Reef Elementary School and set up a hands on activity table. About 600 students visited our booth to learn about coral health! We also met tons of rising scientists at the Key Largo School STEM fair and crowded our interns into a decompression chamber during their training!

April, May, and June

The new world of education had a steep learning curve, but we've embraced the benefits of being able to teach people about coral reefs thousands of miles from the ocean! Coralpalooza™ Digital 2020 was one of our great successes. In addition to digital booths, exclusive video content, presentations, and never-before-seen interviews, we included a CRF™ Kid's Zone hosted by Captain Coral himself! Kids and adults alike learned how to make coral slime and participated in a digital treasure hunt to win CRF™ some swag!

July, August, and September

CRF™ explores the final frontier! During these months our team conducted our final paper and pencil monitoring trips and fully converted to the next generation of monitoring, photomosaics! We also had the opportunity to speak with NASA employees at the Kennedy Space Center, participating in their TOSC Environmental Speaker series.

October, November, and December

We started reaching out to our own former teachers! While the geographical distance is still significant, there was something special about reconnecting with our childhood teachers to share our experience and hopefully inspire future scientists! We are thankful and proud of each and every teacher, student, and mentor who has made education fun, exciting, and compelling this year!


We’ve got great news here at the CRF™ education department! We will have 10 (ten!) new interns joining us in January. They’re coming to the Keys from all over the United States and we can’t wait to meet them! Six of our new recruits are coming to us from Florida, but the remaining four hail from the far-flung states of California, Missouri, Colorado, and Michigan.

Our Fall 2020 Intern cohort presented their semester projects at our Exploration Center in Key Largo ©Ellen Hudson/Coral Restoration Foundation™

These future CRF “polyps” are the best of the best, and we are ecstatic about them joining our team. The newest class of interns contains highly qualified rescue divers, divemasters, and instructors! Everyone from our lead interns to our education program manager are eager to working with them soon.

"Our interns are amazing ambassadors for our organization. By bringing passionate and dedicated individuals into the internship program we will advance our in-water efforts to restore Florida's Coral Reef and increase our ability to share our mission with others. We are beyond excited to further develop the internship program and cannot wait to meet our new team members in January!" - JD Reinbott, Volunteer Coordinator

This year is the perfect time for us to welcome our biggest group of new interns ever! The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently awarded a grant of $5 million to The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation to support reef restoration. CRF™ and Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium will be working to return more than 60,000 corals to the reef over the next few years. This is a huge undertaking and we couldn’t accomplish it without an enthusiastic team of interns.

Many of our interns have gone on to do amazing work in the field of marine science. You can see what some of our CRF™ Alumni are up to here.


This year, for our national student challenge, we are tackling a new problem – biofouling!

Read the full press release and register here!


Applications are accepted until the position is filled. Apply today!

"Heads Up" Editorial Intern

Tessa Markham is a recent graduate of Skidmore College, with a BA in English and Environmental Studies. She grew up in Wilton, in southwestern Connecticut, but spent her summers growing up either hiking and camping in the woods or swimming and sailing on the water. She has always been passionate about climate change and conservation. Diving for the first time in 2014 while taking a marine conservation course in the Caribbean leeward islands, she quickly amassed dives and got her PADI Instructor certification just three years later. Just after completing her instructor training, she spent nearly a month on the Yucatan Peninsula conducting research on their reefs, looking at the ratio of soft versus stony coral death. She later channeled her distress at the degradation of the reefs to write a short story about coral bleaching, which was published in Volume 5 of the Oakland Arts Review in 2020. Her capstone thesis built on this theme and she wrote a collection of four creative short stories that detail and exemplify climate change-induced environmental damage through a narrative lens. She aims to combine her degrees and experiences to make a career in science communications, making research and conservation accessible to everybody.

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89111 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, Florida 33070


Exploration Center

5 Seagate Blvd, Key Largo, Florida 33037

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