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"Heads Up" in January 2023 with the Coral Chronicles


Education is the basis of a cultural mindset shift that will lead to longevity for coral reefs and all ocean ecosystems. It is a central pillar of our work because we understand that saving coral reefs requires action on multiple fronts. Our Education Program works to open pathways for people to get involved in ocean conservation and support the efforts of our local conservation community. Take a look back at all that our Education Program has accomplished in just one year!

January, February, March

In January a team of 9 CRF™ staff and interns removed 1,070 pounds of trash from Elliot Key, a known loggerhead turtle nesting habitat! Then just a few weeks later we headed south to join Coastlove for a mangrove habitat cleanup.

Coral Restoration Foundation™ staff and interns volunteer with Biscayne Bay National Park to clean up Elliot Key, a loggerhead nesting site. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

In February five of our interns were able to teach their favorite edutainment workshop, Maritime Slime, to students from Ocean Studies Charter School, ages ranging from 5-10. Our Maritime Slime workshop encourages the students to think more critically about the relationship between people and coral reefs. Additionally, it is free to download on our website!

Ocean Studies Charter School students make their own "coral slime". ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

CRF™ gave a TED Talk in March! Our Dive Training Administrator Roxane undertook the monumental task of condensing the 10+ year history of Coral Restoration Foundation™ into a 10 minute presentation that will inspire you to become a coral conservation champion. Watch Coral Restoration Foundation™ entire TEDxTalk here, and learn how a young girl found became a leader in science and is now inspiring other to Raise the Reef!

CRF™ Dive Training Administrator Roxane Boonstra serves as a representative for women in coral conservation and marine science at Tedx in Laguna Blanca California.

April, May, June

Over Memorial Day weekend CRF™ hosted Captain Coral's Scavenger Extravaganza at Zoo Miami. Captain Coral, leader of our Coral Crew, greeted patrons as they were on their way into the park, and 6 coral-themed booths were spread throughout the Zoo - each with its own hands-on educational conservation activity!

Captain Coral's Coral Crew aka CRF™ interns and staff host educational conservation booths for guests to learn about coral reefs! ©Joseph Ducker/Coral Restoration Foundation™

Unfortunately a tropical storm swept through the Florida Keys on World Ocean Day forcing CRF™ to cancel Coralpalooza™ in June. We were so looking forward to celebrating and everyone at CRF™ was deeply disappointed that we had to cancel one of our most collaborative and uplifting events of the year but now we will put all the more effort in for Coralpalooza™ 2023!

July, August, September

Through the Every Kid Outdoors initiative, our team hosted over thirty-five 4th graders from Key Largo School for a week-long experience teaching them about the fundamentals of coral ecology, the importance of the Florida's Coral Reef, the anthropogenic factors causing reef decline, and the latest in coral reef restoration methods and strategies.

After a few days of dry land activities, experiments, and lessons the students joined CRF™ for a day of snorkeling on the reef! They shared with us the different ways they appreciate the ocean. They were shocked to learn what has been happening to the coral reef in their backyard. Even with a full understanding of the dire situation reefs are facing, the students still were able to look toward the future with hope.

This project was made possible by a grant from the National Park Trust and USDA Forest Service.

Later in the year, Lucan, a soon-to-be senior in high school who participated in our Battling Biofoul Student Challenge in 2021 donated his winning tool design to our team! For the Battling Biofoul Student Challenge Lucan designed and manufactured a tool that we can use to efficiently clean Coral Trees™ in our open water nurseries. In September he and his parents stopped by our central office in Tavernier to drop off hundreds of 3D printed prototypes of his winning Coral Tree™ cleaning tool!

Lucan's tool in action being used to clean a Coral Tree™. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

October, November, December

In the final quarter of the year our Education Team was joined by Heirs to Our Oceans, American Association for Advancement of Sciences If/Then, and the Girl Scouts for Generation Coral: Be a Reef HERo, an event to celebrate and inspire young conservation leaders and women in STEM! The Girl Scouts joined us from some of Southeast Florida’s most under-resourced communities meaning most of the girls participating had never had the chance to snorkel at a coral reef before even though they were all Miami locals!

The day began with multiple science exploration stations set up by the hosts and a virtual meet and greet with a panel of young people from Heirs to Our Oceans who were streaming to us live from all over the world! We finished off with a snorkel trip to Carysfort Reef and the CRF™ Coral Tree™ nursery at Carysfort!

Generation Coral: Be a HERo ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

And finally, we wrapped up the year with our first ever Captain Coral's Coral Carnival! There were games, rides, prizes, live music by The Skallywags AND an exclusive Captain Coral Science Show at 1pm!

Our community partners included 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! Making this an incredibly collaborative community event!

Captain Coral's Coral Carnival was a major hit and we recruited some new Coral Crew! ©Joseph Ducker


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.

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