On Friday and Saturday, June 7-8, ocean lovers in Florida and the Caribbean will work to help save and restore coral reefs during Coralpalooza 2019 — Our World Oceans Day.

“Coralpalooza is a way for all ocean lovers, whether on land or in the water, to unite to prevent the loss of our coral reefs,” said Roxane Boonstra, Coral Restoration Foundation dive and volunteer coordinator. “By working together in this 48-hour period, this massive, coordinated, tangible action sends a message of hope for coral reefs from the Florida Keys to the rest of the world.”

On June 8 beginning at 10 a.m., participants will head to the Coral Restoration Foundation Center, located at 5 Seagate Boulevard, Key Largo, for some Coralpalooza fun. During the event, an army of scuba divers will be physically restoring degraded coral reefs over two days. Recreational scuba divers will join experienced coral restoration practitioners in the water, physically outplanting critically endangered corals to degraded reefs, halting and reversing their decline.

On World Oceans Day every year, hundreds of people gather to demonstrate the impact of collaborative action. This year will be the fifth annual Coralpalooza.

Coordinated by Coral Restoration Foundation, it’s the largest coral restoration organization in the world. They have been restoring reefs in Florida for 12 years, and have now returned more than 80,000 critically endangered corals back to the Florida Reef Tract.

Coral Restoration Foundation invented the Coral Tree, a simple, cost- effective technology that is one of the best ways to grow huge amounts of corals, fast. The foundation’s nurseries are the biggest in the world, with the largest covering 1.5 acres of sea floor, containing more than 740 Coral Trees, and capable of producing more than 42,000 “reef-ready” corals every year.

In the last 30 years, the world has lost more than 50% of its coral reefs.

Coral reefs are a vital component of life in the ocean. They are the “rainforests of the sea”, and support more than 25% of all marine life. Without coral reefs, the delicate balance of life in the ocean will collapse, and, given that over 70% of the oxygen that we breathe comes from the ocean, the consequences for all life on Earth would be catastrophic.

Divers, snorkelers, landlubbers and ocean lovers of all ages can get involved in saving coral reefs during Coralpalooza.

The event is being held in collaboration with CoralVita, Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, Horniman Museum and Gardens, Fundemar, Mote Marine Laboratory, Oceanus, Rescue a Reef, Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences, Seascape Caribbean, Ticatove, Triton’s Realm, and UNAM.

Coralpalooza is spreading from its home in the Florida Keys to Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica, Hawaii, Jamaica, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Roatan, and London. It is set to be the biggest single day of active reef restoration the world has ever seen.

But it’s not only divers who will be making a difference for coral reefs on World Oceans Day. There are opportunities for all ocean lovers to get involved.

Businesses and other non-profits are also joining the action. Coralpalooza 2019 is sponsored by the Angari Foundation, Fury Water Adventures, Horizon Divers, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Silent World Dive Center, Keys Diver, Rainbow Reef, Key Dives, Island Ventures, Reef Box, and Filter King.

“Coralpalooza’s ability to make such a significant impact in coral reef science, conservation and public outreach in a single event is inspiring,” said Angela Rosenberg, president of the Angari Foundation and captain of R/V. Angari, “and we’re proud to participate and provide R/V ANGARI in support of this year’s event.”

A TREASURE HUNT

Coralpalooza 2019 will feature an island-wide treasure hunt with Captain Coral. Crack the codes to find locations where you will unlock mysteries of the deep. The adventure will take you to some of the most ocean-tastic places in the Upper Keys, and when you’ve collected all the knowledge you need to help save coral reefs, you can spin the wheel to win prizes. More information is at coralrestoration.org/coralpalooza

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