Absurd Design is donating 50p from every Watercollar to Coral Restoration FoundationTM for a whole year to advocate the planting and cultivating of new corals and help support saving our oceans.
Why Absurd Design is donating to Coral Restoration Foundation TM
"Coral Restoration FoundationTM is the world's largest non-profit marine-conservation organization dedicated to restoring coral reefs to a healthy state, in Florida and globally." - coralrestoration.org
With the launch of my Watercollars this summer I wanted to make sure the first charity to donate to would be epic! And a cause that I feel is close to my heart. Living next to the sea, enjoying many water-sports and also it's beauty, I'm passionate about helping keep the ocean clean and healthy, so we can enjoy it even more! Which is why I chose Coral Restoration FoundationTM. Their core mission is to restore coral reefs and to add value by educating others on the importance of our oceans. Amazingly they are actually growing species of corals on 'Coral TreesTM' -
"Since 2012, we have now planted more than 74,000 critically endangered staghorn and elkhorn corals back onto the Florida Reef Tract."
I wanted to make sure that I learnt even more about how this fantastic non-profit organisation is helping our oceans after making them my chosen Watercollar charity. So I made contact with Tiffany, an intern working at Coral Restoration FoundationTM, who has taken the time to explain about all the amazing work being done at the moment and exactly where your 50p donation goes.
How did you become involved with Coral Restoration FoundationTM as an intern?
My previous career as a renewable energy lawyer resulted in impactful but very hands-off work. I wanted to engage more tangibly with the oceans and their issues, and so I shifted into marine conservation with some limited SCUBA diving field work. I was instantly hooked, and it became my life passion to save our seas while there's still time. While working in advocacy and communications for a marine conservation nonprofit in the San Francisco bay area, I ran across a call for interns with the Coral Restoration FoundationTM. Working every day with my own hands to save the corals -- to save the oceans -- appealed to me on a very deep, fundamental level. I applied for the position and started 2 months later. It's been immensely rewarding having the opportunity and responsibility to care directly for our coral reefs and our oceans.
What project are you working on currently?
As with any nonprofit, there's always a thousand things going on that need tending to. Our days here are divided amongst in-field diving work and non-profit management. Our underwater work consists of fragmenting corals to grow in our 7 underwater Coral Tree NurseriesTM, tending to these growing corals, preparing cuttings for outplanting, restoring local reefs with our home-grown corals, and monitoring the success of our outplants. We also facilitate and collaborate with many other groups who utilize our nurseries for their scientific research. Our land work consists of educating the public through workshops and outreach events, discovering new ways to innovate our coral restoration techniques to remain the global leader in restoring coral to a healthy state, collaborating with other partners in the marine conservation space, and regular boat/gear/warehouse maintenance. In addition to this, I am also working on revamping our YouTube channel with some behind the scenes vlogs of our work.
A huge part of why Absurd Design chose to support Coral Restoration FoundationTM as the first non-profit organisation with Watercollars is because of your fantastic dive programme, planting new and endangered species of coral. Could you tell me anymore about this and how it works?
Absolutely! Our underwater work is the foundation of our in-field work restoring corals. We have a dedicated restoration team who lead interns and volunteers on our 3 work boats daily to maintain our underwater nursery, collect stock for outplanting, outplant corals onto the Florida Reef Tract, and monitor the health and success of outplants. In addition to these daily activities, the Coral Restoration FoundationTM also hosts dive programs with local dive operators for the public to jump into our work with us. After hands-on training in our classroom on the latest coral restoration techniques, dive program participants spend the afternoon SCUBA diving first in our nursery to either collect outplants or help to keep our Coral TreesTM clean and then on the reef to either outplant or monitor past outplants. Staff, interns, volunteers, and dive program participants are all an integral part of the Coral Restoration FoundationTM's mission and success.
Kristin Anderson another Intern working at Coral Restoration FoundationTM
How many different types of coral do you plant/cultivate so far?
In total, we cultivate and outplant 322 coral genotypes across 11 species of corals in order to ensure that we are preserving and restoring the Florida Reef Tract's genetic diversity and resilience. The majority of these outplants are critically-endangered staghorn and elkhorn corals. These Acropora corals are resilient reef-builders. By restoring these corals as a base structure on the Florida Reef Tract, we are providing the foundations from which we can rejuvinate the whole ecosystem. We also host the world's largest in-situ genetic bank of coral, including some genotypes no longer found in the wild, in order to preserve overall diversity of corals.
What are some of the methods you're using to help to restore the coral in our oceans?
The Coral Restoration FoundationTM works to support the reef's natural recovery processes through large-scale cultivation, outplanting, and monitoring of genetically diverse, reef-building corals. We take advantage of fragmentation -- the way that corals reproduce asexually -- to grow large numbers of corals for outplanting onto reefs in a short amount of time. Coral fragments -- small pieces of a branch of a coral colony -- are cut and tied to our Coral TreesTM in one of our 7 in-ocean Coral Tree NurseriesTM to grow from finger-sized pieces to "reef-ready" sized colonies (about the size of a basketball). This takes 6-9 months, at which point the reef-ready colonies are cut into hand-sized outplants which are then transported to local reefs to be glued to the substrate with non-toxic marine-epoxy in strategically-chosen locations. These locations help fill in the "holes" between natural populations so that when spawing -- coral sexual reproduction -- occurs, the gametes will be close enough to produce new coral larvae recruits. In this way, the Coral Restoration FoundationTM's coral cultivation and propagation techniques support natural coral spawning successes.
Can you tell me an interesting fact about Coral Restoration Foundation that many people might not know?
We are a small group of dedicated individuals with a big effect. Our 15 staff are assisted by dedicated interns and volunteers on our dive programs to accomplish an incredible feat -- outplanting as fast as we can grow the corals. We have more than 500 Coral TreesTM in our 7 Coral Tree NurseriesTM that are growing tens of thousands of corals in the ocean at any given time. Our largest, the Tavernier Nursery, covers more than 1.5 acres on the sea floor and can grow 22,000 corals to a "reef-ready" size each year. We're proud that our dedicated team has outplanted over 74,000 corals onto the Florida Reef Tract since 2012.
Here is Tiffany in action planting corals!!
How the Absurd Design Watercollar helps
From their launch this summer Absurd Design Watercollars have been so popular and it's a great product to talk about especially because of how they're helping our planet in their very small way!
Made from up-cycled wetsuits and neoprene surplus fabric with eco-friendly water-based screen printed patterns these collars are doing their bit for recycling and making something that serves a purpose for water loving dogs too! Absurd Design is choosing a different marine charity or non-profit organisation each year and will share with you information about their work and how your 50p donation will support the issues they face.
Where can I get a Watercollar for my dog
You can buy your dog a Watercollar here and choose from a selection of different patterns and coloured neoprene. Check back as new styles and colours will be available. Limited Stock so if you like it, be quick before it goes!