INTERN PROJECTS BUILD SOUGHT-AFTER EXPERIENCE
Our internship curriculum includes the completion and presentation of an Intern Project. These are personal projects built in collaboration with CRF™ staff members. There are very few restrictions on what kind of projects an intern can do, so long as it is feasible given the resources that CRF™ has and that it moves our mission forward in some way.
Interns build their own projects, working closely with staff members to complete them successfully. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
Allowing for such a broad concept has led to numerous fascinating intern projects across all departments. In recent rounds, Maria McCausland, a former Communications Program Intern, compiled funding resources now available on our website which make marine science and conservation a more accessible field to break into; Nick Ungerson, a current first-round Intern, is working to reorganize and inventory the Tavernier Nursery genetic bank; Tessa Markham, a current Lead Intern, wrote and designed a new informational page for the CRF™
website on the biology and ecology of coral reefs; Shane Gallimore, a former Education Program Intern, reworked the entire online training platform for new interns; Jeremy Goodsnyder, a current Lead Intern, and Mitch Torkelson, a current first-round Intern, both made educational games to be used at in-person outreach events!
Intern Projects are a great way to build experience within our organization and expand into new or unusual sectors of CRF™. Many new interns will choose a project topic that speaks to their already-existing interests while later round interns tend to branch into different departments of CRF™.
CALLING IN THE COMMUNITY
Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo hosted an Eco-Fair inviting environmental organizations from all over the Florida Keys to represent their work. The purpose of the event was to inform and educate Ocean Reef Club members about Florida’s unique environment and ecosystems.
It was inspiring to see so many organizations dedicated to environmental stewardship, some of our fellow ocean stewards included REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation), MarineLab Environmental Education Center, and Dolphins Plus, to name just a few!
Lindsey Kaye, a Lead Intern, and Lindsey Smith, a first-round Intern, interacted with nearly 100 people over the course of the Eco-Fair, ranging from young children to grandparents. There was considerable interest in active coral restoration and indirect support for coral reefs from donations, to lifestyle changes!
The main question that both Lindsey’s found themselves answering was “what is causing the degradation of our reefs,” a question that does not have a single answer. Coral reefs around the world are suffering because of climate change, but additional local stressors, including marine debris, anchor damage, wastewater runoff, and coastal development, make it even more difficult for corals to survive the effects of climate change.
Coral Restoration Foundation hosts an interactive booth at the Ocean Reef Eco Fair ©Lindsey Smith/Coral Restoration Foundation™
Events like this Eco-Fair allow us to address some of these local stressors and encourage action within our communities that will give coral reefs a better chance to survive as we work to bolster their natural recovery processes!
REACHING OUT TO RESTORE REEFS
On March 6, CRF™ joined University of Oregon’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC). Tessa Markham and Molly Whiting (a lead and new intern respectively) presented as a part of the 39th annual event, this year’s theme was Resilience.
Tessa and Molly spoke on topics of coral restoration, and our aim to support natural ecosystem recovery. Coral Restoration Foundation™ restores areas of reef that will serve as ecological steppingstones, refugia of biodiversity scattered along the entire reef tract, that will be able to seed the rest of the reef with life.
Coral Restoration Foundation™ restores reefs on a massive scale. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
The YouTube Livestream reached nearly fifty people across the country! The end of the presentation opened the floor for a question-and-answer segment. Questions included thoughts on local legislation’s influence on reef health, and how somebody who lives far away from reefs can help protect them!
This presentation is available to view on YouTube at this link.
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.
RESOURCES FOR YOU
NATIONAL BATTLING BIOFOUL STUDENT CHALLENGE
This year, for our national student challenge, we are tackling a new problem – biofouling!
Read the full press release and register here!
"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.