CAPTAIN CORAL'S CORAL CARNIVAL!
Are you a Florida Keys local? Snowbird? In town for the holidays and looking for a family friendly event? Join CRF™ and 12 non-profit and educational organizations for our inaugural Coral Carnival!
The Coral Carnival will be held 11am-3pm on December 10th at the Murray Nelson Government Center. Attendance is completely FREE! There will be games, rides, prizes, live music by The Skallywags AND an exclusive Captain Coral Science Show at 1pm!
Our community partners include the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary, Zoo Miami, Miami Youth Climate Summit, I.CARE, MarineLab Environmental Education Center, Florida State Parks, Pennekamp State Parks, Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida, REEF Environmental Education Foundation, Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, ant the Key Largo School PTA! Thank you all so much for joining in to make this event memorable!
CRF will be hosting multiple educational activity booths that teach participants about coral anatomy and reef ecosystems. But who says learning can't be fun, alongside our educational booths will be mini carnival rides, food trucks, and live music. But the real highlight of the event will be our LIVE Captain Coral Show at 1pm.
Captain Coral makes science, THRILLING! He'll perform experiments live on stage with the help of some generous audience volunteers. RSVP to our Facebook Event so we know you're coming, then share with your friends! We'll see you there!
THREE EDUCATION EVENTS IN A ROW!
November was packed full of educational outreach events! We visited Sugarloaf School for their Marine Science STEM Night, North Broward Prep, and joined Mote MarineLab for their annual OceanFest community event!
At Sugarloaf School Stem Night two CRF™ interns spoke with about 75 parents and students in just one hour. Our team set up a booth featuring a mini Coral Tree and a paper mache reef site complete with fake corals, hammers, and play-dough to mimic CRF™ coral restoration tools! The interns taught everyone about how CRF™ utilizes our Coral Trees to grow corals quickly and prepare them to be outplanted on the reef. Then the students practiced their outplanting skills on the model reef, learning to secure staghorn corals with three points of attachment and always end with a wave test to make sure the corals are really stuck!
North Broward Prep is a highschool and so the lessons taught were a bit more in depth than a simple outplanting station. Our intern team focused on coral anatomy and particularly a part of the coral immune system that is always exciting to learn about, their mucous membrane! CRF™ has developed a lesson plan which has students create a slime to mimic the coral mucous and experiment with creating different consistencies while also learning how this protective layer of slime helps block germs from entering the corals tissue. The students were very engaged during the activity, and some were surprised to learn that corals create slime at all! One of the best moments was when a student realized the reason they had been told never to touch coral was because it could wipe off the mucous membrane of the coral and expose it to germs! Knowing this information made it much more clear why it is so important to avoid touching coral when snorkelling or diving.
Mote’s OceanFest is one of our favorite events of the year because everyone in attendance is excited to learn about ocean conservation! We had 4 interns attend this year’s OceanFest to share our mission and sell some of our sustainably sourced merchandise.
We set up at Oceanfest in the morning and saw lots of friendly faces at fellow restoration and conservation organizations but also lots of new faces belonging to organizations in the Florida Keys dedicated to ocean conservation!
CRF™ Interns pose at Mote's Oceanfest with CRF™ educational materials and sustainable merch! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
OceanFest also had lots of animals! Turtles, horseshoe crab, starfish, lobster, lionfish, a parrot, a python, and more. Two kids were even petting a horseshoe crab and together, they said "It's so cute!". When there is a baby sea turtle right next to a horseshoe crab you would never expect the horseshoe crab to be the star of the show but these kids were Florida locals and they knew so much about ocean animals and loved all of them! Walking around at OceanFest you will see so many great shops and organizations committed to being ocean stewards. Joining the community for these types of collaborative events is always motivating to our team because we see just how much power there is when we fight for a common goal. It was so fun to have all these ocean warriors in one place together to connect and have fun!
Educational outreach is one of the main pillars of our mission. With education comes a desire and ability to help conserve coral reefs and the ocean ecosystems they support. If the general public is not aware of the problem then there will be no new and innovative solutions. That is why we are so driven to reach out to inspire more and more coral champions!
Head's Up Editorial Intern
Thomas Ressa is a longtime saltwater aquarium hobbyist turned coral reef conservationist, Thomas completed his Masters of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity & Conservation from UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography after a 10-year career working in tech at both Apple and Amazon. His transformation was fueled by a childhood vacation to the island of Moorea in French Polynesia, where he recalls first falling in love with the abundance of life, colors, and the myriad of life-changing experiences interacting with a coral reef can provide. Thomas hopes that his experience at the Coral Restoration Foundation will not only advance his knowledge of coral reef ecology but support him in becoming a more profound voice for the community and the preservation of nature.
Coral Chronicles Editor
Madalen Howard 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.