Reef Check has launched a “Teach Haitian Students to Save Coral Reefs” Indiegogo campaign to raise $5,000 by January 24, 2015. The campaign seeks to protect Haiti’s coral reefs through ‘immersion learning’ for children of fishermen to develop critical community support and management for two marine parks.
Currently, Haiti’s reefs are overgrown with algae because there are not enough fish to eat it. Despite this imbalance, biodiversity in the region remains high and there are ways to solve this problem. By establishing Marine Managed Areas (MMAs), the fish will be able to grow, reproduce, and thereby eat the algae to allow the coral reefs to return to their former glory. We can gain the support and participation of fishermen by training kids to swim, snorkel, and start to learn marine biology, a field entirely left out of Haitian schools. Better management of this renewable resource will result in more fish and more jobs for the local population.
For $5,000 we can train 25 kids, ages 6 to 16 in a week-long training course that covers swimming, snorkeling, and basic marine science in their local language, Creole (see story here). In a few years, some of these students can enter Reef Check’s EcoDiver program, where we train university students to become citizen scientists to monitor coral reefs, track their health and understand what affects the health of their economy and their future. Other graduates of the program will join the tourism industry and create a more diverse economy than fishing alone. Additionally, a well-managed reef can provide up to 15 tons of fish per year, which is a vital food source for Haitians.
But first, we need to teach the kids to swim and get fishermen on our side… and we need your help! Help us to save the reefs, educate kids, and create more fish and jobs in Haiti. Check out a video by the New York Times to fully understand the impact of this project.
Visit the campaign page at https://indiegogo.com/projects/teach-haitian-students-to-save-coral-reefs for more information and to pledge your support.
You can also help get the word out about Haiti by sharing our campaign, or donate directly to Reef Check at https://my.reefcheck.org/myaccount/make_donation.php