Generation Coral: Be a Reef HERo!
On September 25th the Coral Restoration Foundation™ 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!
Girl Scouts join Heirs to Our Oceans, CRF™, and If/Then for the first ever Be a Reef HERo event! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
The event was hosted by Heirs to Our Oceans, If/Then, and CRF, 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. The girl scouts rotated through each station learning about plastic pollution, SCUBA diving, field research, and coral restoration! Then we sat down for 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 had representatives from Nigeria to Germany speaking about how they have each made an impact for the betterment of our planet before they’ve even entered adulthood!
This panel was impactful because the young girl scouts were able to speak with their peers, people their own age who are making a difference for our oceans. Knowing that young people can and do impact the world was inspiring and motivating for everyone in the room, but especially for the girl scouts in attendance.
After having some time to speak with the Heirs to Our Oceans it was time to gear up, cast off, and dive into the coral reef! The girl scouts all donned their snorkel gear after listening to a safety briefing and snorkeling 101 class they were ready to see this coral reef that everyone was telling them was worth protecting.
Fortunately those expectations were exceeded because the moment these young women jumped into the water at Carysfort Reef and saw the elkhorn corals CRF™ had outplanted a few years prior the smiles didn’t leave their faces even as they dozed off on the boat trip back home.
All the hosts involved were so happy to have had such a fun adventure with the Girl Scouts and we can’t wait to see then again soon for another day of ocean exploration!
Generation Coral: Be a HERo ©Coral Restoration Foundation™
REEF Lionfish Derby
It is that time of year again! The 2022 REEF Lionfish Derby kicked off with its bi-annual series from September 8-11th. Teams of anglers and spearfishers went out on the reefs to try and remove as many of invasive lionfish as possible while back on land ocean conservation organizations joined forces at Postcard Inn to educate and entertain all the derby goers. CRF™ set up our outplanting station and Coral Tree™ so kids can get a hands-on feel for what it is like to be a coral restoration SCUBA divers. While the kids were learning and playing we also spoke with plenty of adults about the ways we can support healthy reef ecosystems, including through lionfish derbies!
Although lionfish are widely spread through the Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico, there is still a substantial portion of the public that does not know about the problem. Lionfish Derbies aim to educate participants and the community to raise awareness of the threat these species pose to local ecosystems.
Lionfish are non-native marine fish that can disrupt ecosystem function. There are several ways in which species can find their way into our waters, but captive release from home aquaria and hitchhikers on ships from other oceans are the two primary vectors suspected for their introduction to our waters. Lionfish pose a significant threat to local marine ecosystems because of the predation of native species, their ability to reproduce in massive numbers, and the lack of predators that control their populations. You can help by reporting any sightings via REEF’s website.
Captain Coral Sails Again!
This September Captain Coral was spotted recruiting new members to his Coral Crew. Most recently he teamed up with Captains for Kids, a group that brings young people with disabilities onto the water to learn all about oceans and boating!
Captain Coral was there to rally the troops for our fight against climate change to help save our coral reefs! He demonstrated how excess carbon in our atmosphere mixes with ocean water causing ocean acidification! It is not an easy process to explain but Captain Coral’s visual aids and interactive experiments really drive the point home.
Though all the kids were very intrigued by Captain Coral’s science experiments, the most exciting moment of the day was when we pulled out the big guns! Captain Coral made an air cannon out of a bucket and some fabric! The air cannon shows how waves can travel through air just like they do in the water.
Thanks so much to everyone at Captains for Kids for joining our Coral Crew!
Head's Up Editorial Intern
Thomas Ressa is a longtime saltwater aquarium hobbyist turned coral reef conservationist, Thomas completed his Masters of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity & Conservation from UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography after a 10-year career working in tech at both Apple and Amazon. His transformation was fueled by a childhood vacation to the island of Moorea in French Polynesia, where he recalls first falling in love with the abundance of life, colors, and the myriad of life-changing experiences interacting with a coral reef can provide. Thomas hopes that his experience at the Coral Restoration Foundation will not only advance his knowledge of coral reef ecology but support him in becoming a more profound voice for the community and the preservation of nature.
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.