Last weekend was filled with diving, snorkeling and partying, all to raise funds for Coral Restoration Foundation, a local non-profit which is rebuilding the reef using a unique method of growing and planting corals.
The weekend included dives with Coral Restoration Founder Ken Nedimyer, who guided underwater trips with volunteers who placed young corals at the foundation’s offshore nursery and later planted growing corals on the reef. There was also a trip to the reef on the Key Largo Princess glass bottom boat, from where passengers watched divers plant the coral.
The weekend culminated with a fundraising gala at the Hilton Resort in Key Largo, which featured live and silent auctions, dinner and dancing.
The Coral Restoration Foundation and Mote Marine Laboratory have established offshore areas where broken and cloned corals are grown to a size at which they can be planted on damaged areas of the reef.
Nedimyer, working on his own, pioneered the process that has become an accepted method of reef restoration. His efforts earned him a CNN Environmental Hero award in 2010.
Mote and other organizations have taken up the coral-growing cause. For more information or to donate to the Coral Restoration Foundation, go to http://www.coralrestoration.org.