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"Heads Up"in January 2021 with the Coral Chronicles

Updated: Sep 7, 2021


A new round of interns has arrived and dived headfirst into training! This was our first round of in-person intern training since the emergence of COVID19. As always masks are required on CRF™ property and social distancing regulations are in place to ensure the safety, health, and comfort of our team!

Training started with a series of rapid-fire introductions to each of our departments: Science, Education, Restoration, Dive Programs, Communications, Development, and Administration!

Slowly but surely the new interns were introduced to our entire full-time staff. These introductions allow our interns to dip their toes into each department and learn about all the different types of work that support our mission.

Knot tying is an important skill for any boater! ©Bailey Thomasson/Coral Restoration Foundation™

After introductions were made, the hands-on training began! All the new interns completed water-skills assessments, learned daily office operations, taught a dive program, and restored corals on the reef!

Throughout all this training, the new interns also designed their semester projects bouncing ideas off coworkers and submitting proposals. As the final cap on their two weeks of training, Scott Winters, our CEO, had an open forum to answer any questions they might have — about life, him, conservation, or CRF™—and inspire them to get the most out of the amazing opportunity they are embarking on.



Lead Intern Tessa gave virtual learning presentations to her former high school teachers and their students! She taught students of Sue Steadham who supervises the Marine Biology Club, something that Tessa was a member of herself, and STEM teacher, Brett Amero.

Tessa’s first field experience with marine conservation came from her time in Ms. Steadham’s Marine Biology Club, so naturally she was proud to become a mentor. During both classes Tessa described her pursuit of a career in science and coral restoration even though she went to college to study english.

Students learn about ocean conservation through art, creative writing, and science! Photos taken before COVID19.©Coral Restoration Foundation™

While english and coral restoration may seem like opposite topics, interdisciplinary study is an important part of our scientific community. The ability to communicate scientific discovery and engage people with our mission through stories is comparably as vital to our operations as caring for our coral nursery!

Online education is not our preferred method of connecting with students and the public. Sometimes there are technical troubles, sometimes a microphone or video won’t work, but any chance to form a connection with people and corals is worth the technical difficulties.

Plantation Key School students show off their science fair projects pre-COVID19. Innovation and creativity are always are part of scientific discovery! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

Education helps to overcome climate change, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, coral disease, and all the other obstacles corals face. The more people we impact the better chance for reef restoration success!


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!



Apply for our Summer 2021 Internship or our Temporary Restoration Associate position today!



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.

"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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