Protecting the continental USA’s only living coral reef in the Florida Keys has been incredibly important for this sub-tropical island chain for some time now.
With the upcoming World Oceans Day just around the corner on Monday June 8th, the Key Largo-based Coral Restoration Foundation™ (CRF) has announced that its annual Coralpalooza™ event – the world’s biggest for reef restoration – will for the first time, be going digital this year.
The Coral Restoration Foundation™ is a non-profit marine conservation organisation dedicated to restoring reefs to a healthy state in Florida and globally. CRF works to support the reefs’ natural recovery processes through large-scale cultivation, outplanting and monitoring of genetically diverse corals, as well as engaging with and empowering others in their mission with dive programmes, educational activities, scientific collaborations and reaching out to communities.
Coralpalooza™ Digital 2020 will take place two days before World Oceans Day, this coming Saturday June 6th from 1:00 to 4:00pm EDT (6:00 to 9:00pm GMT) and will be free to exhibitors and attendees. The event will be the first online celebration of international efforts to save and restore reefs.
Last year around 300 people from 11 countries took part in Coralpalooza and in the Florida Keys alone over 250 divers helped to return over 1,700 critically endangered corals to the Florida Reef Tract. This year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coral Restoration Foundation is keeping the spirit of Coralpalooza alive with a fully interactive, state-of-the-art digital platform that will give attendees the opportunity to live chat with coral restoration and research experts from around the world at digital booths, watch an exclusive interview with Philippe Cousteau, grandson of celebrated explorer and film-maker, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and founder of EarthEcho International, tune into live link ups to CRF staff out in Florida Keys waters planting corals to restore reefs. You can also watch exclusive, never-before-seen videos, photos, interviews and presentations.
There will be world-renowned coral biologists, national and international organisations including the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at Coralpalooza™ Digital 2020, as well as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, PADI Project Aware, Coralive, and Raising Coral Costa Rica. There is be a keynote talk from Tom Moore the Coral Reef Restoration Program Manager at NOAA, plus interviews with the famous artist Wyland and Richard Vevers of “Chasing Coral”.
Marine biologist Roxane Boonstra is leading the event for the CRF and says: “Even though we can’t get together in person this year, we are excited that it’s allowed us to open the event up to more people than ever before – anyone can register! This really is the spirit of Coralpalooza – showing that large-scale, massive action and collaboration is required if we are going to be able to save and restore our precious coral reefs. Coralpalooza Digital celebrates the fact that there is an army of people around the world working to do just that, that there is hope, and that everyone in the world can get involved!”
You can register for Coralpalooza™ Digital 2020 here and for more information on this year’s Florida Keys’ Coralpalooza™, please visit: www.coralrestoration.org/coralpalooza-digital-2020 and for more information on the Florida Keys and its ‘Connect & Protect’ sustainability initiative, please visit: www.fla-keys.co.uk/sustain
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of the Coral Restoration Foundation