WORKING TOGETHER TO CREATE HEALTHIER REEFS
On Saturday September 12th CRF™ joined REEF’s annual Lionfish derby with an interactive educational booth! The REEF lionfish derby was three day event where teams of divers could sign up to compete in spearfishing lionfish, an invasive species found throughout the Florida Keys. The three day derby concluded with an all-day land celebration event that took place at Postcard Inn.
Lionfish derby goers learn about our Coral Trees™ @Coral Restoration Foundation™
We brought several activities to the booth that kids and adults alike could participate in. People practiced hanging corals on a model Coral Tree™, learned about returning corals to the wild, and learning about the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs. Our team was able to talk to over one hundred people people about our restoration, science, and education initiatives.
An ocean acidification edutainment activity teaches students about threats from climate chagne. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
Midday our team got stuck in a bit of a thunderstorm and had to clear away most of the booth to avoid anything getting blown away, but they were able to persevere and set up again shortly after the storm and continue on with the event. We had numerous kids come to our booth to learn about coral reefs, and hopefully we inspired some future marine biologists in the making!
It was a great day for Conservation both under and above the water!
GIRL SCOUTS LEARN ABOUT CORAL RESTORATION
Fall is here and Education outreach is everywhere! On Saturday September 25th Coral Restoration Foundation™ joined the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida at Pinecrest Gardens for their annual Girl Fest! It was the largest outreach event CRF™ has been part of this year hosting somewhere between 500-1200 girl scouts and family attendees.
Girl Fest with the Girl Scouts was a huge sucess! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
The event was roaring with excitement! Between the DJ playing his awesome tunes and the dozens of educational booths scattered around the garden there wasn’t a quiet seat in the house. Girl Scouts of all ages jumped from booth to booth getting educated on all different exciting programs the Girl Scouts can get involved with here in Florida!
Our education team packed two of their favorite hands on edutainment activities; Coral Slime and Sibilating Scleractinia to demo for the girls when they stopped by the booth. Each educational activity touched on a unique characteristic/reaction that corals have when surviving out on the reef. The edutainment activities were a huge hit at the beginning of the event, slime being the most engaging. However, slime was also the messiest!
Girl Scouts learn to hang corals on a Coral Tree™ ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
About two hours into the event the CRF™ team broke down the two edutainment activities, due to the high number of people at the booth it was getting too crowded for the Girl Scouts to actually hear the demos and leaving the experiments out to let people play with turned into a tremendous mess. So the education team switched activities to setting up a temporary tattoo station instead and it was an absolute blast! The Girls loved the tattoos and as our Coral Crew applied them they were able to have one on one conversations with each Girl Scout about coral restoration.
The team also brought along a life size coral tree to let the girls practice hanging corals. The Girl Scouts loved getting the opportunity to personally hang corals on the tree.
“It was a hoot to see the younger kids use all their strength to try to close the crimps with the cutters. Most of the time we had to hold onto the cutters with them to help close the crimps because they just weren’t quite strong enough," says CRF™ Education Program Intern Molly.
All in all, it was an awesome day full of excitement and great memories!
Girl Scouts learn about coral restoration at our educational booth! @Coral Restoration Foundation™
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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.