Back in early April 2019, we were invited to attend the 7th Annual Coral Restoration Foundation™ "Raise the Reef" Gala held on Key Biscayne, FL to celebrate the amazing accomplishments CRF was able to achieve for coral reefs in 2018. As one of the leading coral conservation non-profit organizations in the world, the Coral Restoration Foundation is on the cutting edge of research and actions that could help save coral reefs all over the globe. Last year alone they were able to grow and "outplant" more than 23,000 corals onto eight reefs in the Florida Reef Tract! And through their efforts on social media were able to reach 3.4 million people with their message.
It is such an honor to be partners with an organization so dedicated to the protection and restoration of these fragile and incredibly important underwater ecosystems. And our support for them is only possible because of the incredible response we received from you, our customers, for the 4ocean Coral Reef Bracelet last year. We accounted for around 15% of their entire corporate donations in 2018, which means we are truly making a difference for coral reefs! And we can't thank you enough.
We even got a cameo shot in their Annual Report from when we were helping them clean their "coral tree forests." How cool!
The night started out with a keynote speech by the Superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Sarah Fangman. Her background and extensive scientific work in the Florida Keys made her the perfect person to deliver a message of hope for the world's coral reefs.
While the planet's reefs are in jeopardy and, in many cases, some form of decline due to things like rising water temperatures which cause coral bleaching events, water pollution, and ocean acidificfation, the work being done in the "coral tree forests" overseen by CRF is showing the promise that science and dedication can help restore coral reefs if we put in the work now.
The second speaker of the night was celebrated wildlife journalist, Will Stolzenburg. Having traveled the globe for many years writing articles from the four corners of our planet, he most recently began to focus on the role of wild predators in the ecosystems of the world. His talk was focused on the large fish in the sea, or unfortunately, lack thereof.
The apex predators in the ocean, species like sharks, groupers, and billfish, are disappearing at alarming rates and we're realizing that the crucial role they play in regulating biodiversity is missing on many reefs. Where you find large fish, you find healthy reefs. Where these fish have been removed, you find ailing reefs. The interdependence of large predators and reefs can no longer be ignored and we need to do everything we can to help these protectors of the reef.
Prior to the main program, we had a chance to catch up with our day-to-day contacts from the Coral Restoration Foundation, Martha Roesler, Chief Development Officer, and Alice Grainger, Communications Director to talk about what a successful year they had and how we can continue our partnership in 2019.
As part of our participation in the event, every one of the attendees received a 4ocean Coral Reef Bracelet to help remind them of the plight of coral reefs and to serve as a conversation starter to help them spread the message that we can make a difference for coral reefs if we all act together.
All-in-all, it was an amazing night for coral reefs and the Coral Restoration Foundation. We were so happy to be able to attend and participate in helping them raise the money they need to continue to do the important research they are conducting every day. Without dedicated and knowledgable people, like those from CRF who are leading the way on the most pressing of issues surrounding coral reefs, these ecosystems have the potential to go extinct in this century. But we have no doubt that with perseverance, the right outlook, hard work, and actionable plans, we can help save the reefs of the world for generations to come.
If you would like to pull a pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines as well as help us support organizations like the Coral Restoration Foundation, click here to pick up your 4ocean Coral Reef Bracelet to show the world that you care about coral reefs and you're doing something about it.
Each year we mark World Oceans Day on our calendar knowing that it's one of our biggest opportunities to reach millions of people around the world at once with our message of a cleaner ocean. This year, New York City, the United Nations, the Peace Boat, and Rockaway Beach played host to the 4ocean team for the weekend and as it turns out, World Oceans Day 2019 was an adventure beyond our wildest expectations.
Traveling 80 miles across the Gulfstream in the Atlantic Ocean can be a daunting task in a boat. Now think about making that same crossing on a paddleboard — intimidating, right? Now imagine that you have cystic fibrosis, an inherited disorder that causes damage to your lungs as well as other organs. Do you think you could make it?
For our May 2019 bracelet, we had the chance to showcase an animal that generally doesn't get a lot of attention when it comes to ocean conservation––the incredible octopus. But thanks to "Octo Girl" and her research, these animals may play an even bigger role in the future health of coral reefs and the ocean.