A Love Letter to Coral Lovers

Healthy reef

Imagine waking up every morning in paradise: crystal clear, turquoise water, swaying palms, tropical fish galore, and plenty of opportunities to dive and make a difference. As a Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire intern this too could be your life. This summer I had an amazing opportunity to take a break from working on Masters degrees in International Affairs and Natural Resources and Sustainable Development to spend time working on the ground (and in the water) to gain valuable, firsthand experience in the realities of working for an environmental NGO. As an intern, you create monofilament loops, attempt to cut rebar, saw and drill bamboo, inventory materials, and assist with CRF Bonaire dive classes – and that’s just on land. In the water you will clean nursery trees, hang clippings, remove predators, assist with classes, transplant corals, build transplant structures, monitor for disease, and complete a myriad of other exciting tasks.

Look up from your work and see a squid eyeing you, a sea turtle swimming by, or a seahorse swaying…

With CRF Bonaire you also have the opportunity to see almost instantaneous results. When you transplant corals, the fish immediately make themselves at home. Not to mention that you never know when you’re going to look up from your work and see a squid eyeing you, a sea turtle swimming by, or a seahorse swaying on one of the nursery branches. While the work itself is rewarding and fun, easily the best part of the entire experience is the amazing, passionate people you will meet and have the opportunity to get to know. The CRF Bonaire community of staff and volunteers is made up of truly inspirational people.

We come from all over the world, we get along, we work together, and we get things done.

One moment that really sticks out to me from my internship experience this summer was not a moment in the water but one on land, when a leader of a family diving program introduced those of us assisting with Kids Sea Camp to the families by remarking that even though we come from all over the world, we get along, we work together, and we get things done. Around the globe, 2016 has been a challenging year politically and a lot of uncertainty clouds the future of environmental action. It can be hard to act when the obstacles seem insurmountable, but a reminder that it is still possible for individuals to come together from all over the world and achieve something great can make all the difference. It is in times like these that we must remember the power of individual action and take a stand for the issues we hold dear.

Remember that your efforts will continue to create a brighter future…

Working with CRF Bonaire this summer taught me just how much of an impact one person can have. To any of you who have scrubbed a nursery tree free of algae and fire coral (ouch!), hung clippings, removed predators, bought a t-shirt, switched to reef safe sunscreen, or transplanted coral, thank you! All of you volunteers who came before me, those I had the pleasure of working with, and those who will volunteer in the future have membership in a special family that we should all be proud to be a part of. Bida ta dushi, Coral Lovers! Spread the coral love, and remember that your efforts will continue to create a brighter future for us all.

Yay!

Elizabeth

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 Give Monthly

Giving monthly is the most effective way to ensure the sustainability and growth of our programs. By creating a predictable source of income, you help us grow, transplant, and monitor new corals on the coasts of Bonaire and Klein Bonaire. Click here to make a commitment to help conserve and restore Bonaire’s coral reefs.

 Become a Coral Restoration Diver

Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire always needs volunteers, and it is crucial to have qualified, passionate, and proactive hands in the field. Click here to learn more about how you can become a Coral Restoration diver!

 Adopt A Coral

The Adopt A Coral program is designed to provide a tangible way to engage in our restoration efforts. When you adopt a coral, you are helping to conserve and restore Bonaire’s coral reefs for generations to come. Click here to adopt now!

New Coral Restoration Site In Town

Last week, Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire began transplanting corals at a brand new restoration site! Volunteers, interns, and team members worked diligently to transplant the first 150 corals at the new site in town, which is located on Playa Lechi, near the recreational swimming area. Easily accessible to snorkelers by shore, this is the first of four sites that will be restored with the Dutch Government fund, “Natuurgelden BES”, received this year to further develop the foundation’s activities.
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The project, that will continue throughout 2017, includes the restoration of the population of staghorn corals at four different sites for a total area of 600 m2, at which more than 5000 healthy, nursery-reared, staghorn corals will be transplanted. The survival and growth will be closely monitored over time.
With this project, Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire will take the next steps in actively restoring Bonaire’s coral populations and will continue raising awareness about the urgency of protecting our reefs.

Nos ta biba di naturalesa

 

Gooodive Bonaire Joins Reef Restoration Efforts

Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire is thrilled to announce the addition of Gooodive Bonaire to the Dive Shop Members. Gooodive Bonaire joins Eden Beach Resort, Harbour Village Beach Club, and Buddy Dive Resort as a partner and educational center for Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire.
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Installed at the dive site Something Special, Gooodive’s nursery has five trees with the capacity to house a total of 500 corals, a combination of both staghorn and elkhorn corals. Gooodive will now take on the responsibility of maintaining their nursery, transplanting corals, and becoming a valuable partner in working toward Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire’s mission to restore staghorn and elkhorn corals on the shallow water reefs of Bonaire and Klein Bonaire.
Dive Shop Members are paramount in Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire’s efforts to educate the public about the continuing efforts to preserve and restore Bonaire’s finest assets: its coral reefs. Gooodive will follow the example set by the other three partners, educating people about Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire’s restoration efforts and training recreational divers through the PADI distinctive specialty course.
The nursery installation and Gooodive’s first year of membership were made possible thanks to the nature fund, “Natuurgelden BES”, allocated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs for the BES islands. In addition, funding is still available for one more dive shop to become a part of the Coral Restoration Foundation Dive Shop Members.

Nos ta biba di naturalesa

Meet the CRFB Team

Francesca Virdis
Project Coordinator

Raised into a family of avid divers Francesca received her scuba certification at early age. Her passion for the underwater world sparked a constant interest which she carried with her to school, receiving in 2004 her MSc in Marine and Environmental Science from the University of Bologna, Italy. On June 2008 she decided it was time for a lifestyle change and a closer connection to the ocean, so she moved to Bonaire where she began working as a Dive Instructor. In 2012, Francesca was asked to get involved in initial coral nursery set up and since then she has been dedicating herself to the CRF Bonaire project development.
Francesca’s love for the ocean and her passion for the restoration project is a wonderful combination that leaves divers and volunteers happy to help, inspired to continue and excited to be part of the future of our reefs.

Bridget Hickey
Project Assistant Coordinator 

Bridget comes to Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire from the United States with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science-Biology from The University of Tampa. Before becoming a CRF Bonaire team member, she focused her time on reef conservation while also working within the diving and resort recreation industries. CRF Bonaire’s passion for experiential education is one of the many reasons Bridget is so excited to be working with an organization dedicated to innovative, effective, and inclusive ocean conservation.