Everytime I visit the Keys, I always try to work in some time learning about and doing coral restoration. On this trip, the Coral Restoration Foundation team was able to accomodate my family for the morning learning session.
This was my second time getting to hear the morning training session and I was excited to share this experience with my mom, sister, and niece. Although the first hour covered really great information about the role coral reefs play in to ocean and the world, it wasn’t as kid-oriented as I had remembered.
My niece stuck it out like a champ however and used the time to color in her copy of the Fish Coloring Book I recently finished.
After a break, the second half of the morning was hands-on learning about the coral restoration practices CRF uses.
First, we got to try cleaning a coral nursery tree. We learned about the importance of keeping the nursery trees free of algae so the coral could get lots of sunlight to produce food and grow.
Then we moved over to the model of the ocean floor where our instructors spread sand out to mimic the sediment and algae that grows everywhere.
We learned how to find the best spot and placement of our piece of coral. We then used a toy hammer to clear a space to attach the coral to the substrate with marine putty (playdough for our simulation).
This is normally the part of the training where divers practice with their buddy and agree ahead of time who will do each task so it goes more smoothly once underwater.
Originally, Chuck and I were planning to go out afterwards to plant some coral and clean some nursery trees but the dive had been called off earlier that morning due to high waves and surge.
Since we weren’t going to be diving, we took extra time to let my niece try her hand at planting coral and cleaning nursery trees. She had a great time choosing the spot and carefully placing the coral. Ultimately, I think it was a pretty great trade.
Someday, I really hope we get to go out and plant some coral together!