The Transect Line – February 2008
Join Reef Check in the Dominican Republic!
Join Reef Check for a 10-day EcoAction Expedition to Cabarete, Dominican Republic on the beautiful island of Hispaniola!  The trip is open to both skin and scuba divers and all will have the opportunity to become certified Reef Check EcoDivers while exploring the culture and ecology of the Dominican Republic.  The trip will be led by RC Dominican Republic Director Dr. Ruben Torres (Univ. Miami), an outstanding marine biologist.  Participants will learn how to assess the health of Caribbean coral reef ecosystems and will use these skills to survey reefs facing various threats from pollution and overfishing. The data will contribute to marine management in the DR. 
Reef Check Partners With Project AWARE Foundation

Two top nonprofit conservation organizations, Project AWARE Foundation and Reef Check Foundation, have formally partnered with one mutual goal – to protect coral reefs around the world. Project AWARE and Reef Check both rely on dedicated volunteer divers to collect relevant data for their monitoring programs. Project AWARE’s CoralWatch monitoring, implemented in partnership with the University of Queensland, Australia in 2005, collects information on the intensity of coral bleaching and recovery. Since 1997, Reef Check has carried out an annual global scientific survey of human impacts on coral reefs. Project AWARE and Reef Check would like to encourage all divers to volunteer for these programs and help track the condition of coral reefs.

Reef Check California

Successful Training on Catalina Certifies 14
We recently welcomed 14 new RCCA divers to the statewide team after an awesome training at Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI). 13 marine science instructors and the program director gave up 3 of their days off to jam in a Reef Check training, one that typically takes 4 days.

Job Opening: Los Angeles Volunteer Coordinator
The Reef Check Foundation seeks a Volunteer Coordinator to facilitate the implementation and growth of the Reef Check California (RCCA) Program in Southern California, primarily in the Los Angeles region. The Volunteer Coordinator will work closely with the RCCA Southern California Regional Manager, the Director and Headquarters staff. The Volunteer Coordinator will organize trained volunteers to conduct surveys, ensure survey teams are equipped with datasheets and survey gear, and assist teams with data entry and submission. This position will require periodic travel out of the region and work on weekends.
International Year of the Reef

International Year of the Reef 2008 Launched in Washington DC
IYOR 2008 was launched at the ICRI general meeting in Washington on January 23rd 2008 and was followed by three events hosted by the US and Mexican governments at the Smithsonian, the World Bank and the Mexican Cultural Center. At the final IYOR Symposium at the Mexican Embassy, Reef Check partner Body Glove organized a group of schoolchildren from the Chesapeake Bay Middle School to sing the “Year of the Reef Song” to the delight of the international guests including host Mexican Ambassador Arturo S. Casamitjana. Click here to watch the video.

International Year of the Reef 2008 Update
IYOR events are going on all over the world! The United States Virgin Islands Resource Conservation and Development Council, for example, just held a Free Movie Night open to the Public in the University of the Virgin Islands grounds in St. Croix on January 25. They also teamed with CRABBS, a local dive club, to sponsor four local high school student open water dive certifications through the SCUBA Essay Contest. California is certainly not falling behind. On Saturday April 19 the Ocean Institute is opening its public programs celebrating the International Year of the Reef…

Have you signed the International Declaration of Reef Rights?
Join the 7600 ocean lovers from 125 countries who already have!

Click here to sign the International Declaration of Reef Rights

Click here to find out what others around the world are saying about the International Declaration of Reef Rights

Reef Check Teams in Action
2008 EcoAction Training of Trainers Schedule
If you are interested in becoming a Reef Check diver or trainer, be sure to check out the 2008 schedule of EcoAction trainings. New trainings in Aruba, Egypt and Mexico have recently been added and additional trainings will be added as details are confirmed.

SAUES Certifies EcoDivers in South Africa
Earlier this year in Southern Africa 12 volunteer divers qualified as Reef Check EcoAction Divers through the Southern African Underwater Ecology Society (SAUES). After the intensive training that took place on the East Rand, South Africa, teams traveled to Ponta D’ Ouro in Southern Mozambique for all practical training off one of Ponta’s most popular reefs, Doodles.

Reef Check Receives Prestigious Award from German Diving Magazine
One of the leading German magazines for recreational divers, tauchen (=diving), celebrated its 10th year with an award ceremony on January 24 in Düsseldorf at the “boot 2008”, the most important European watersports fair. Each year the magazine awards the best products, dive centers, and tour operators. For the first time, an honorary award for the protection of reefs was given to Reef Check. Several members of Reef Check Germany were present at the ceremony and Georg Heiss, director of Reef Check e.V. Germany, received the award on behalf of the Reef Check Foundation.

Reef Check Dominican Republic Partners With Fishermen to Protect Reefs
Through the generous assistance of GCFI and UNEP-CAR/RCU and in partnership with Reef Check Dominican Republic, four members of the fishers’ association of Juanillo-Punta Cana (APEJU) and a local Peace Corps volunteer will spend a week visiting fishing communities throughout the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. The fishers exchange will serve to validate and increase the leadership capacity of the APEJU fishermen, expose them to well-managed marine protected areas, and introduce them to alternative gear choices and sustainable fishing strategies.

Mark Your Calendars

Biosphere Expeditions & Reef Check Team Up in Honduras – March 16-28, 2008 & March 30 – April 11, 2008
Biosphere Expeditions promotes sustainable conservation of the planet’s wildlife by involving the public in real hands-on wildlife research and conservation expeditions alongside scientists who are at the forefront of conservation work. In Honduras, Biosphere Expeditions is surveying the coral reefs of the Cayos Cochinos marine protected area, in the Bay Island Archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, and will be employing the Reef Check survey protocols and adding the data to Reef Check’s global database.

Reef Check Pulau Weh, Sumatra EcoExpedition – April 7-17, 2008
Reef Check will be leading a new EcoExpedition to the amazing island of Pulau Weh at the northern tip of Sumatra, Indonesia. Join Reef Check scientist Kim Obermeyer and local coral reef conservationists from Pulau Weh to survey and monitor coral reefs in this world-class Marine Protected Area.

Red Sea Reef Check Safari with Sinai Divers – May 8-15, 2008
Join Sinai Divers and Reef Check aboard the Ghazala I on this 7-night liveaboard safari in the Red Sea. Enjoy the colorful soft corals, fascinating variety of fishes and with some luck, even Sharks and Manta Rays may be encountered. A special extra on this safari is that you will be accompanied by marine biologists, who will teach you the Reef Check protocol. Sinai Divers will donate 10% of the earnings to Reef Check.

Reef Check and Earthwatch Team Up for Thailand EcoExpeditions
Snorkel and dive Thailand's amazing coral reefs to conserve biodiversity. Thailand's coral reefs are some of the most magnificent and diverse on Earth. Like many of the world's reef systems, Thailand's reefs are facing the pressures of overfishing and destructive fishing practices, like cyanide poisoning and explosives, as well as the threats posed by global warming and coral diseases. Reef Check's Dr. Georg Heiss and Kim Obermeyer are joining forces with Earthwatch to do baseline assessments of Thailand's resplendent coral reefs and to set up a long-term monitoring program. There are 8 expeditions scheduled for 2008- book your spot today!

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