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"Heads Up" in November 2020 with the Coral Chronicles

Updated: Sep 7, 2021


Educators everywhere have been adapting to new styles of teaching and engaging with students. Here at CRF™ we too have discovered new ways to reach students, and the public, during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of our recent distance learning programs took place with Miami Dade College. Sydney Gallagher and Tessa Markham, two CRF™ interns, presented to 35 students from the Hialeah Campus using a video chat application. This was Tessa’s first official teaching experience and, not a presenter at heart, she was nervous to address to such an advanced and knowledgeable group.

Former CRF™ intern Rick Hayden gives a virtual presentation to Key Largo School. © Coral Restoration Foundation™

Tessa relied on her knowledge and training to overcome nerves, and was soon breezing through a discussion of coral reefs, their connection to ecosystems around the world, threats to corals and everyday solutions to help them survive. Sydney concluded by going into detail about our coral restoration techniques, the science behind our practices, and the tremendous effort our team puts in each day to save Florida’s Coral Reef.

“It was interesting to watch the Zoom chat as the students talked amongst themselves about the restoration work that CRF™ does. A lot of students posed questions which were answered, or at least carefully considered, by the other students while we presented,” said Tessa Markham, CRF™ intern.

Remote learning is an entirely different beast than in-person education. The human element that you get when working with someone face-to-face is lost, and it can be difficult to relate to your audience. Nonetheless, the Miami Dade College group was an excellent example of remote learning done well, with students remaining engaged throughout the presentation and posing thoughtful questions at the end. After rewarding experiences such as this one, we are looking forward to continuing virtual outreach in this new world of education!



We rely on our interns. They keep our warehouse running, man the desk at our Exploration Center, conduct educational outreach, and are a major part of our coral restoration success! After just 1 month, our newest cohort of interns have completed all of their training, and are comfortable assisting staff with any task on land or sea!

Our internships exist in three phases—interns, leads, and program interns. Each phase is 4 months long and builds on the interns’ experience from the previous semester. Now that our newest team members are onboarded, we've started looking for our next recruits!

Restoration Associate Rebecca Creighton and two interns, Lindsey Kaye and Ellie Hudson, smile underneath masks before donning their SCUBA gear. © Coral Restoration Foundation™

Fortunately, it looks like we’re going to have an equally talented pool of interns for Spring 2021. This application cycle is breaking every record set by CRF™ in the past.  Our application closed on Friday October 30th with 197 submissions, topping our previous record of 135!

“As a previous CRF Intern, I know how amazing the program itself is and I’m overwhelmed (in the best way possible) by the sheer number of applicants we have received for our upcoming semester. Seeing the number of applicants gives me hope for the future of our reefs as these passionate and motivated young individuals play a vital role in the preservation of these critically endangered ecosystems, in both the short and long term,” said Volunteer Coordinator JD Reinbott. 

Left: A group of CRF™ interns pose in the water after surfacing from a dive. Right: A mix of current and former interns pose with crates of staghorn coral before placing the fragments on the reef! © Coral Restoration Foundation™

The next step for the Spring 2021 Internship is a round of virtual interviews.  We will get to know the applicants and give them a chance to learn all about our mission. We can’t wait to meet all of our potential interns and begin the new season!


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.



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 Interns

Maggie Knight grew up in Birmingham, AL and has been fascinated by the ocean since she was a little kid. She became a certified diver when she turned 15 and has been in love with the underwater world since then.  After completing her Divemaster program, Maggie worked for Family Dive Club in Birmingham, AL teaching middle and high schoolers how to dive as well as how to appreciate and conserve the ocean environment.  She has been studying marine biology and coastal environmental science at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA for the past three years. She plans on finishing her dual degree at LSU and then heading to veterinary school after the conclusion of her internship. 

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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