By Reef Check California Director Dr. Jan Freiwald
Once all our data from the previous year is entered in January we always have the joy of determining our “Golden Slate” winners. These are the volunteers who have completed the most transects in the previous survey season. This year, I am honored to present Dirk Burcham as the winner and Ted Sharshan as the runner up in Southern California, and Vincent Christian as the winner and Peter Ottersbach as the runner up in North/Central California. Since Dirk is a previous winner, he received a Golden Transect to add to his collection this year.
Dirk is also the holder of the lifetime record for most transects with 573 completed. Last year Dirk did 172 transects and Vincent did 46. All four volunteers have been working with us since the beginning of the program. It is long-time volunteers like these and the many others who have helped to grow the program and make Reef Check California what it is today. Only because of their dedication can we continue to monitor our rocky reef sites and consistently collect data that is used for marine management state-wide.
Each year the recipients of the Golden Slate are announced at our end-of-year volunteer parties. This year we had a great turnout at both parties at the Monterey Bay and Long Beach Aquariums, and attendees got a great behind-the-scenes tour of the aquaria.
Last year we had 244 active volunteers and we are looking forward to another successful year of monitoring and to seeing everybody in the water again. We are gearing up for our trainings over the next few months. So if you are a Reef Checker please go to http://reefcheck.org/rcca/training_schedule.php and sign up for one of our recertifications or if you are not yet certified, take one of our trainings to join our group of volunteers and dive with purpose to make a difference in marine management in California.