By Reef Check California Director Dr. Jan Freiwald
Reef Check California (RCCA) just had its fourth annual retreat on Catalina Island this month. Every year our staff and RCCA instructors meet at one of the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) facilities to regroup after the survey season, and to gear up for the year’s surveys and trainings. Twelve staff and instructors from all over the state attended the meeting. We had lively discussions about how to improve our training for the upcoming year, and reviewed protocol changes that will be implemented based on our five-year review. This annual meeting is always an important and fun event to keep our statewide network connected. It keeps everybody up to date on events that happened at RCCA over the last year and informs all instructors about plans for the coming year.
We also all got in the water and recalibrated our survey skills. We had great diving conditions and practiced our skills with each other. This annual retraining of the RCCA trainers is an important step in the quality control of our data collection. Since we work somewhat independently throughout the year, it is critical to have this time to recalibrate everybody’s skills. We not only got a lot of work done, but we also had time to hike up into the hills of Catalina where we had amazing views of the entire Los Angeles basin, including the snowcapped mountains in the background. After this productive and fun event we are ready for another successful survey season in California!