Kids Ecology Corps staff attended the 2nd Reef Resilience Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL on October 18th, 2011.
Renowned scientists presented the latest research on Coral Reefs. They spoke about the importance of both global action to reduce our use of carbon based fuels which are significant contributing stressors to coral in the form of both climate change and ocean acidification. They also spoke of the importance to reduce local stressors from human activities including poor water quality, sedimentation, anchoring, overfishing and other physical damage to reefs by direct human interaction and garbage pollution. However, it was made clear that only making local changes in the long term will not be enough without combatting climate change and ocean acidification. We need both local and global components.
Kids Ecology Corps has helped to protect our coral reefs by organizing beach cleanups, planted thousands of sea oats that help reduce soil erosion and sedimentation on the reefs, raised and planted thousands of mangrove trees which help create more nurseries for marine life, help filter the ocean water and help with soil erosion. We have educated thousands of children through our hands-on Oceans Blue presentation, Wild Things Around Us presentation and Mangrove presentations.
Dr. David Wachenfeld will spoke on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, where he serves as the Chief Scientist, as well as the Director of the Science Coordination Group. In this role, he has responsibility for coordinating the delivery, analysis, management and presentation of all the information needed to manage the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. He has lived in Australia and worked on the Great Barrier Reef since 1992. During this time he has had seventeen years experience in research, management and education. He said that preserving even up to 20% of our coral reef areas, as is being tested on the great Barrier Reef, has shown significant improvement in overall area corals. According to another panel speaker we heard, the U.S. is only preserving 2% of our reefs. We may not always be aware of the importance of preservation under the ocean, but is just as important as preserving land parks and forests.