This discussion is about Coral Gardens - Living Reefs.
Dear Dr. Bowden-Kerby,
I really loved reading this entry, checking your website, and watching your videos. I was particularly interested that you have expanded your idea to Belize (Placencia). I am writing you from Caye Caulker, Belize and I am interested in more information about how to get involved. I have a posting on this website (Caye Caulker Ocean Academy), and I am also a Board Member of the Forest and Marine Reserves Association of Caye Caulker (www.famracc.org). I hope we might be able to try this in our protected local marine park. Our school has been involved with FAMRACC's mangrove restoration projects which is in some ways very similar to coral gardening. You are most welcome to come visit the Caye Caulker site on your next Belize trip. I love this project idea!
Joni Miller (email@example.com)
Thanks for the encouragement. Glad you like the concept and want to get involved with coral gardening... you are in a perfect place to do so. I stopped over at Caye Caucker in Feb 2009 and we collected a few corals on the reef there for the nurseries- a rare blue Porities for the coral nurseries.
Lisa Carne is the local scientist I have been working with in Placencia, and I have transferred the technology to her. She is now working with WWF (Nadia Bood) and Healthy Reefs for Healthy People (Melanie McField and Armeid Thompson). Lisa will be doing a major outplanting at Laughing Bird Caye National Marine Park in December, which could serve as a training for you as you plant hundreds of second generation corals from the nurseries back to the reef. Write me a firstname.lastname@example.org and I will connect you to Lisa.
We have no funding at persent, so I am not sure when I will make it back to Belize! There is talk of a phase two project, but nothing has been secured yet. People are mostly doing this out of love and dedication to the reef and towards a better future.
A wave if change is building! We are all part of this process of transformation... by becoming involved YOU are a changemaker!
Wow we both made the finals! If we both win (or even if we don't), lets plan on working closely together to involve the students and all stakeholders! Maybe we could train the best swimmers to become certified coral gardeners before they leave school, and some of them would pursue it as a profession or go on to higher studies in marine science? Good luck with getting the votes!
Austin - I'm super excited we're both finalists. I think I mentioned in a previous email that we have a common contact in Ellen McRae who is doing training with you down south, and mangrove restoration here on caye caulker. I'm also a member of FAMRACC and Ellen and I have talked about ways to get students involved with the coral garden training. I wonder if perhaps I could come to the workshop as well? I love your project idea and see lots of opportunities for Ocean Academy students. I just voted for you :) Talk with you again soon. Joni
Hi Joni, by email address is email@example.com
Lisa Carne has the funding to conduct a coral gardening training in Placencia in March and I am trying to raise the funds to also attend to preewnt my curriculum and the handbook on coral gardening I am developing.
Several Corals for Conservation board members have been speaking with me that we need to form a Caribbean chapter, with its registration in Belize. We need to confirm that in a board meeting and then establish the board. I have former trainees in Utila, Jamaica, and DR who continue the work and who might be good for the board via email, or at least to become members of C4C, but I think we need a quorum in Belize. What do you thonk? Lets take this to the email though!
Knowing the energy and commitment you bring to any endeavor you undertake and your ability to inspire others, I can only see that your latest project is one that truly inspires change. A well deserved placement in the final 10 entries.
You are one of the most selfless people I have ever known. Your work, for the benefit of others, when you yourself could have made substantially more money doing commercial work with your discoveries, is astounding and creative. The impact is significant. I am proud that you turned down more lucrative offers in lieu of your investment in people groups and their well-being. You are truly an inspiration.
I most certainly hope that you win. Thank you for your vast contribution to the world.
Very interesting and much needed research and development that you are doing. Hopefully that work and knowledge might spread with implementation to many other areas.
Wishing you all success with your endeavors, and best to you from the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.
This is very exciting!
...though I also think it was just a matter of time. You and your work have informed and inspired so many, me included. Very good news and congrats.
(a gardener in Austin's footsteps)
Having seen first hand how these new coral reefs can impact a community and give individuals a sense of being about to actually contribute to solving the problems facing Island nations and franky anyone who like to eat fish! :)
Hello Austin - I'm on Guam fulfilling a 6 month pioneer post and will go back home to Tacoma, WA area in May. Having a blast seeing old friends from 20 years ago.
I am so proud to know of all your fine works with the coral project.
Good thoughts and prayers coming your way.
Much love to Kim and family.
You've been up there on my admired list since following your presentations at an Orlando SED Conference. Your summary seems modestly understated to not mention your studying recovery from dynamite fishing, souvenir marketing, and storms -- maybe those weren't the main action areas. As an origin of life and global equilibrium, I can't imagine a greater need with the environmental stresses (dire forecasts on coral survival in decades ahead - coastal change everywhere) and glad you continue in this work.
Bill Thompson - Chile
Dear Rau Ose
Thank you very much for being a mentor (trainer, advisor, coordinator and manager) to the coral rehabilitation work within PCDF communities, and I am sure that many more communities in Fiji and other countries will benefit from your selfless devotion to this initiative.
I am one of your trainee and I had gained so much from working with you. My deep appreciation and big VINAKA VAKALEVU to your companionship and deep sense of humour during our time at PCDF.
Please convey my warmest regards to Kim and the Family.
Loloma to You ALL.
You are also very special to the work... we have come a long way together and have survived many challenges and we will continue into the future! It is people of capacity like you that give me great hope for the future. I have complete faith that eveything we dreamed of will come to pass- by the grace of God!
Loloma to all the PCDF team,
PS: I just got off a live interview with Radio Australia about the Changemakers Award. It was broadcasting all over the Pacific region! No mater what, this has already helped to spread the word
Dear Dr. Bowden-Kerby:
I got to know your cause from my friend Jo. What you are doing is amazing and admirable. Good job!
How do you envision the possibility to work in the Caribbean region from the institutional point of view?
How can be the execution scheme to be applied in this case. Will you partner with a Caribbean based institution?
Good question Yves.
I have been working with several institutions operating in the Caribbean and travelling to the region 2-3 times a year since 2004. We have established a foundation in some areas with trainees and co-workers operating in Belize, Dominican Republis, Jamaica, Barbados, Honduras, and well as Puerto Rico.
Our organization's board is also planning on establishing a Caribbean chapter of Corals for Conservation, to be registered in Belize. This was in part due to Caribbean co-workers asking us to do so. We are already dicussing possible board members. However, we do realize that we would need to continue working with well established orgs. Having our own board ensures that the coral work does not get lost in the schuffle. For a matching grant with IADB, we would probably have to rely on the various partner organizations coming together into a coordinated proposal.
Partners in Belize are WWF CA, Healthy Reefs, SEA, and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, funded in the past by the World Bank, WWF-CA, and Healthy Reefs.
Active Partners In DR are the Punta Cana Foundation, an NGO in Bayahibe, Ecoparque, plus the Sosua Mayor's office and five local dive shops. Counterpart International (USA) and University of Miami are external partners that I work with in DR on a Frohring funded grant. I am preseently negotiating with Thomas Cook Holidays re a "Coral Gardening Destinations" package to DR, which would finance the program in DR at least.
In Jamaica, Honduras and Barbados, although inactive as far as my present involvement, I have active trainees in each country that remain in contact. Former orgs that we worked with are Counterpart International, UWI, Discovery Bay Marine Lab, and Negril, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios marine parks. Likewise in Honduras the work continues at a low level through trainees and BICA- Bay Islands Conservation Association.
Partners newly interested in working with us in the Caribbean are the UK National Aquarium and Reef Ball Foundation, and the World Bank is interested in expanding the Belize work regionally as well.
I think that a Changemakers award would help the scattered elements and efforts to work more closely together, especially if it helped facilitate the aquisition of funds, helping us get to the point whereby the coral gardening is operating under its own momentum, being mainstreamed into the tourism industry.
Please don't hesitate to ask other questions.
Thank you for your work and effort for Coral reefs gardening.
I just wanted to congratulate you for making it to the final. All your hard work,dedication, sacrifice and your commitment is really paying off. I take my hat off you, once again thank you for hard work and keep up the wonderful spirit you have. Until next time May God be with you all the way..
With warmest love,
Bula vinaka to you! Congratulations to you and your hard working team. Thank you for saving our Coral Reefs back home.
This is great, Austin. Regards from New York and best of luck!
Congratulations!! You keep doing excellent work.
The corals in "Playa Azul" in Cabo Rojo are not doing well. They need a check up!
I'm proud of you, son.
Your brave coral gardening project reminds me of MLK's much quoted quote:
'If the means we use do not rehearse the ends we seek we will never arrive at our destination'.
I hope you win big time.
Onwards to victory.
C E Cook
Dear Austin ~ I heard about you from Scarlett Bill, a Baha'i on the big island of Hawaii. I just voted for you and got into Changemakers just tonight here in Rancho Mirage, CA which is in the Palm Springs area of the southern California desert. Not much coral around here though. Thank you so much for your special dedication to this world wide problem. You are a standard bearer for ecology.
Dear Austin Bowden-Kerby,
Thank you for the great work you are doing to protect the coral reefs. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji 1982-84, and the coral reefs there were one of the most wondrous things I've seen in my life.
All the best,
Vinaka Jim! Lesu mai Viti!