By Anna Neumann, Reef Check California North Coast Manager
Though Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) dot the entire California coastline now, few people outside of ocean users and advocates know about them. Reef Check has been monitoring many of these areas and believes that it is essential to broaden the public’s knowledge about California’s MPAs. To this end we created a Speakers Bureau and produced a video with the goal to increase awareness about MPAs, the importance of ecosystem monitoring and to highlight a way in which the public can get involved here in California. This spring, we trained groups of Reef Check volunteers in Los Angeles and Monterey as speakers and now have a network of presenters ready to spread the word about California’s MPA network and how we monitor their condition. If you are interested in having one of our speakers give a presentation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three RC volunteers, Kim Glenn, Camilla Hall, and Michelle Hoalton, are featured in the video discussing what it means to be a Reef Check diver and a citizen scientist. Throughout the dialogue in both the video and the Speakers Bureau presentations, audiences learn about Reef Check, the training involved in becoming a Reef Check citizen scientist, and what a survey involves. Kim, Camilla and Michelle share their motivations for becoming a Reef Check diver and what brings them back to the program every year. While Camilla and Kim speak about the friends they have made and continue to dive with outside of Reef Check, the video sums it up nicely:
“Reef Check volunteers are more than just a data counter. They really learn a lot about the marine environment and become a part of the community that cares about the ocean and does something about it. One volunteer can make a huge difference, all the data is going to be used by the state to look at the ocean and the health of our reefs.”
The video was released on May 29th on YouTube. Check out the video and share it with family and friends.