World Ocean Day with the reef as classroom
On World Ocean Day, three classrooms of students came to the reef with their teachers for a first-hand experience. Austin acted as a Pied Piper -- children naturally followed him around -- and it was exciting to have the youth seeing the familiar reef in new ways.
The Saturday after the 4th of July, more children came to be immersed in the rich diversity of the coral reef. In a project specifically geared for children in Naidiri village, kids learned how all parts fit to make an abundant habitat.
The photo below shows the last Naidiri youth, with Annelise, a Canadian graduate student Yanik, and our French and Australian interns Axel and Aaron, plus Wilson who has been a wonderful boat captain for Corals for Conservation.
Our youth are the precious building blocks for what lies ahead in saving the reefs. It may have taken the top news ranking of the distress of Florida reefs to raise worldwide awareness that immediate action is mandatory. There will be no more excuses possible for the crisis with coral reefs. The crisis is now and it is everywhere!
Corals for Conservation's rescue of heat-resistant corals to cooler reefs is making a big impact right now during this horrific die off of corals in Florida. The webinar to deal with this mass bleaching crisis went well. I was one of 6 panelists, and we had some 500 attendees. What I had to offer was very well received. The time has clearly arrived for coral-focused adaptation and keeping each species of coral alive. Fortunately, we have the films and strategies all ready for release. Now all we need is some funding and a much bigger team and even more trustworthy partners, all focused on saving the corals!
But we must do this while we still can! May God, Mother Earth, and the Universe give us the unified vision, manpower, and financial resources required!
The indigenous chiefs have approved the plan, and Plantation Island Resort, our primary partner at the site, is keen to start with a smaller BULA (12m high x 35m wide) on Nuku Reef, the moderately heat stressed middle barrier reef, to serve as the receiving nursery for heat adapted corals for their first and second years. This is where we will screen each coral genotype to confirm vigor, resilience, and to prevent any disease transfer locally. We will now need to present the plans to Fisheries and the Provincial Office and to the Kalevu. Assuming that within one year, BULA super coral nursery will be funded and ready, corals from little Bula will be "graduated"-- rotated out to the main BULA reef -- with new ones rotated in during the cool season. In like manner, smaller satellite nurseries would be created on the Ba, Ra, Yasawa, and Momi area reefs, with corals brought into BULA nursery after screening is completed.
Village communities and the indigenous youth will do the work, and must be provided on-site guidance via trained BS degree marine science graduates to become field officers resident in the communities. Two BULAS is just right, because bula bula means living or healthy! I am hoping that we have 2-3 years to complete the project, and that Mother Nature can hold off the catastrophe by sending near-miss cyclones when we most need them. She has already done that for us several times! After the BULA BULA project is done, the corals will get annual trimming for sending out to participating resorts, who will by then have hired 100 trained USP graduates to reinforce resilience and create fish habitat within community based Tabu areas all over the west. These efforts will be guided by trained coral reef adaptation officers. The Malolo site will serve as the regional and global training site for Reefs of Hope strategies, and trained people will fan throughout the region and, of course, the planet.
This may sound very grand, but it is possible and within reach if we have faith and take the next steps. This is what the coral reefs deserve.
GlobalGiving's 50% match for up to $50 will be September 18th - 22nd. This is an ideal window for you FB enthusiasts to spread the word of GG's Little by Little Campaign. Click on the Share button for ways to copy this report or link into your social media. Recurring givers encouraged! C4C goal is the $50,000 initial action-now minimum needed.
Austin and all who love the reef