TRUNK OR TREAT
For Halloween, CRF™ interns participated in Trunk or Treat hosted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at John Pennekamp State Park. Trunk or Treat is a Halloween event in which individuals and groups from the community decorate the trunks of their cars and park them together in an open lot where families can walk around to play games and collect treats!
This year's theme was “Marine Debris is Scary - Don’t be Afraid to Make A Difference,” so naturally, we were thrilled to join in on the event! CRF™ interns formed teams for a little friendly competition, and decorated four separate trunks at the event.
Our trunks provided opportunities for families to play games, dive into the underwater world for treasure, and most importantly, learn about how marine debris affects not only the life in our oceans but our health as well. It also gave us the chance to teach the community about ways they can help and what they can do to clean up the environment.
CRF™ interns show off their hard work in front of their Marine-themed trunks, while they promote coral reef education. © Derek Hagen/Coral Restoration Foundation™
Events like these give CRF™ an opportunity to engage with our community, which we embrace every chance we get. Trunk or Treat 2019 was especially exciting for us as the theme aligned so well with the work we do. The event fostered a fun and energetic space where kids were able to learn about ocean conservation and the work we do at CRF™. It was an all-around invaluable experience for us and the community!
Drake partakes in the "Knock Out Marine Debris" CRF™ Trunk. © Derek Hagen/Coral Restoration Foundation™
Ellen, CRF™ intern said,
“It was really inspiring to see how excited the kids were to learn about ocean conservation and coral reef restoration because education is crucial to the work we do at CRF™. If we want to succeed at saving coral reefs, it’s vital that we engage adults and kids alike, and this event was a perfect place for that.”
CRF™ GOES TO COLLEGE
This past month, CRF™ interns gave a presentation in Professor Karen Alvarez-Delfin’s Biology class and at the environmental club at Miami Dade College Hileah campus. Because the class already focuses on biology and the environment, our presentation addressed concepts like coral anatomy and the mechanisms behind coral bleaching. The audience particularly enjoyed when our Broward County Fellow, Daphné, discussed topics such as regional flooding and how coral reefs play an ecological role that could reduce these issues.
CRF™ Broward County Fellow, Daphné DeCelles, presents in front of Professor Alvarez-Delfin's students and environmental club participants. © Javier Marquez/Coral Restoration Foundation™.
Professor Alvarez-Delfin requires her students to serve at least six hours of volunteer work with an environmental organization. As such, the CRF™ volunteer program piqued the interest of many as it would provide a unique opportunity for students to continue their education outside of the classroom.
After the presentation, two CRF™ interns set up two stations - one provided more information about CRF™ and opportunities to work with us, while the other provided hands-on practice of the work they could do as a volunteer.
Daphné, CRF™ Broward County Fellow, said,
“I am grateful to have such an amazing platform to talk about the things I am most passionate about. Those who participated in the presentation asked meaningful questions at the end which reflected on well-engaged they were.”
It was clear that these students have a strong interest in corals and their ecological function within our environment, so we hope they join us in restoring coral reefs soon!
ENGAGEMENT IN THE LOWER KEYS
The CRF™ Key West team has recently taken part in several traditions, new and old, in the Lower Keys!
Slime at Sugarloaf School
Earlier this month, Forrest Courtney, our Key West Fellow, joined a dozen or so other educational programs at Sugarloaf School for their 2nd Annual Marine Science Community Night! Forrest had a blast making Slime with the students as part of our Coral Slime Edutainment module. This workshop explains how, similar to the function of human mucus, coral slime acts as a barrier against pollutants, irritants, and sediment and helps keep corals healthy. It got a little messy, but the class had a lot of fun learning about coral reefs!
CRF™ Key West Fellow, Forrest Courtney, runs a Coral Slime booth to promote coral education. © Coral Restoration Foundation™
Zombie Bike Ride
As part of Key West's 2019 Goombay Festival, CRF™ interns Sam Richardson and Ben Edmonds took to the streets of Key West for the famous Zombie Bike Ride. They set up an informational booth along the bike path and supplied participants with water refills to keep everyone hydrated. Sam and Ben were excited to hear shouts of affirmation from cyclists, and we're looking forward to participating in more classic Key West traditions like the Zombie Bike Ride!
Key West interns man the booth during the Key West Zombie Bike Ride. © Forrest Courtney/Coral Restoration Foundation™.
As we develop and grow as an organization, we're spreading our message as far as we can, so keep an eye out for us at local events throughout the Florida Keys!
This fall, we're focusing on our Key West Dive Programs, and we invite everyone to join us in our coral restoration work in the Lower Keys. The next restoration adventure in the Lower Keys is scheduled for Sunday, December 8th. Begin your morning with Coral Restoration Foundation™ for an educational discussion about our work, and then apply this knowledge in the water with CRF™ and Captain’s Corner for a hands-on, tailored SCUBA diving or snorkeling program! Our programs are designed to suit all levels, so ocean lovers of any age can have a positive impact.
Photo courtesy of Captain's Corner
Key West Nursery. © Tiffany Duong/Coral Restoration Foundation™
Please note: all in-water activities are weather dependent.
"Heads Up" Editorial Interns
Shane's love for the ocean was obvious from a young age. During family trips to Cape Cod, he would spend all his time digging in the sand or wading through water and grass, net and bucket in hand, looking for any creatures he could catch. He continued to explore his passion by learning as much as he could from books and documentaries. He began scuba diving in 2011, and would eventually graduate from Stony Brook University in 2018 with a B.S. in Marine Vertebrate Biology. It was during his time at Stony Brook that he developed a desire to not only improve the conditions of our oceans and planet, but to educate others and share his passion. Shane is ecstatic to be a part of the CRF team. He looks forward to learning as much as he can while directly contributing to the health of our reefs and educating and inspiring future generations to share his passion.
Forrest received a B.S. in Geography from Samford University in May 2019 with a GIS certificate and a minor in Environmental Studies. Growing up in the heart of horse country in central Kentucky, life on the ocean was never a thought in his mind. In fact, until his late teen years, Forrest was scared of the ocean. It wasn’t until a study abroad trip his freshman year of college that Forrest began diving and instantly fell in love with the sport and specifically coral conservation. During college, Forrest was awarded a research grant from Samford to spend time on Saba, an island in the Dutch Caribbean, where Samford has a coral restoration effort of their own. Forrest was a summer intern with CRF™ in 2018 and is ecstatic to be back in the Florida Keys once again after finishing his undergraduate degree. Forrest will spend his time as the Key West Fellow working with our incredible volunteers in our Key West Nursery to educate and inspire others to take a stand for our oceans.