February 24, 2009

Reef Check California February 2009 Update

By Reef Check California Director of Science Cyndi Dawson
Reef Check California held its second annual Staff/Instructor Retreat at Catalina Island this month. We were graciously hosted by our partner Guided Discoveries at their Catalina Island Marine Institute, located a couple miles west of Avalon. We had 12 attendees from all over the state, with the largest contingent coming from northern California. The three-day retreat focused on calibrating all RCCA Instructors to ensure our counting techniques were in tip-top shape. As the program has continued to grow, we now have several academic institutions that are teaching our protocols without RCCA staff involvement. This is an exciting development and is allowing RCCA to reach and engage even more people across the state. In addition to completing calibration both inside the classroom and out in the field, the attendees also generated some important ideas that will help us guide RCCA in the future. It was a great opportunity to have people in a single location and ensure we translate volunteer ideas into future plans.
Reminder: We have put the final touches on the 2009 Training Schedule.  Spread the word and get your friends and neighbors involved! There is no better way to take direct action to improve marine management in California than to become a trained RCCA diver. If you are an experienced certified diver please visit our training page and sign-up, the spots are going fast. This year, we are also piloting a project that can allow non-divers to take the course as well. If you are a non-diver, prefer warm waters, or have a friend or family member who would like to be more involved, please contact california@reefcheck.org for details, requirements, and pricing.
Celebrate the new administration in Washington and make a tax-deductable donation to support Reef Check California.  With some strong signals coming out of Washington that science will be the driving force for environmental decisions in the future, obtaining high quality data on California rocky reef ecosystems is an urgent priority. We continue to be on the front lines of improving marine management in California and need your support! So if you aren’t a member, please  join us.