Common Sea Fans (<em>Gorgonia ventilina</em>) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Common Sea Fans (Gorgonia ventilina) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Photo: Chantal Collier

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Photo: Joe Marino

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Southeast Florida Reef News

Coral Reef Education and Outreach Campaigns Continue into Summer and Fall 2010

By Christopher Boykin
Awareness and Appreciation Project Coordinator

A spotted trunkfish scuttles along the reef off of Broward County.  Photo: Joe Marino
A spotted trunkfish scuttles along the reef off of Broward County. Photo: Joe Marino

With more than 105 miles of fragile coral reefs located just offshore southeast Florida’s bustling population of over 6 million residents, there is a continual need to ensure that both residents and millions of visitors to the region are aware of the existence of this incredibly bio-diverse and valuable resource. The Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI) Team identified 38 Awareness and Appreciation (AA) projects in Florida’s Local Action Strategy in 2003. Although many of these projects have since been completed (e.g. create a brochure, produce media kits, and conduct a needs assessment), many more are recurring projects, which have become “core services” of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) to get the word out about the myriad benefits Florida receives from its coral reefs, as well as informing residents and visitors alike about the threats to coral reef survival.

During the coming months, you can expect to see (or hear) some of CRCP’s coral reef education campaigns in local newspapers and magazines, as well as select TV and radio stations between Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Additionally, a half page color advertisement will appear in the July 1-December 31, 2010 issue of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s “Fishing Regulations” , which has a circulation of 600,000 readers around the state. A photo contest and 2011 calendar of southeast Florida coral reefs is also in the planning stages along with a scientific illustrated coral reef poster.

The sixth coral reef teacher training workshop held in the past four years is planned for September 2010. The training will target 6th grade to 12th grade teachers (middle and high school), and is expected to reach its capacity of 50 participants within the first week of being announced, due to the large network of more than 600 teacher who are SEFCRI stakeholders. The workshop will be co-facilitated by AA team members from Sea Grant, the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves and staff from the FDEP CRCP. The agenda will range from what teachers are doing in the classroom to promote coral reef conservation to coral, fish and invertebrate identification, as well as a section on how to use our traveling coral resource trunks and access over 150 coral reef specific educational activities. Weather permitting, the class will culminate in a visit to a near shore reef for teachers to hone identification skills, before regrouping to debrief and conduct a program evaluation, which is critical to the success and evolution of these teacher workshops.



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