[Coral-List] Park Buddy Program is a great success!

florence depondt fdepondt at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 26 18:07:56 EDT 2004

Please find attached the press release giving account of the outstanding 
success of the Park Buddy Program launched this year by The Coral Reef 
Alliance. I hope that many of you will be interested in becoming involved in 
this program next year.
Warm Regards,
Florence Depondt


Date: July 26, 2004
Contact: Florence Depondt,  The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)
Phone: (415) 834-0900 ext.313
Email: divein at coral.org
*** Photos and Promotional Materials Available ***

Park Buddy Program pays for urgent marine conservation projects
at some of the world’s best dive sites.

San Francisco, CA – From an underwater poker game in Lubbock, Texas, to a 
“Reggae for Reefs” benefit concert in San Francisco, California, scuba 
divers across the country took a stand this spring to help protect some of 
the world’s best coral reef dive sites. Dive clubs and community groups 
organized a wide range of fundraising events to pay for five urgent coral 
reef conservation projects. Through this remarkable show of support, almost 
$19,000 was raised – enough to complete these important projects: mooring 
buoys in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (Belize); patrolling and monitoring 
equipment for the Parque Nacional Marino Arrecifes de Cozumel (Mexico); park 
ranger education for the Bonaire National Marine Park (Netherlands 
Antilles); interpretive signs for Rock Islands (Palau); and patrol and boat 
equipment for Southeast Cebu (Philippines).

The fundraising events were organized for the Coral Reef Alliance’s “Park 
Buddy” Program, launched this year as part of the annual Dive In to Earth 
Day event. This new program aims to support coral park managers in their 
efforts to protect biologically diverse and increasingly threatened reefs by 
engaging US citizens to become “Park Buddies” and help raise money to pay 
for coral reef conservation projects.

"Alice and I love Cozumel and visit it whenever we have a chance," says Bill 
Miller, Coral Park Buddy.  "We want our grandchildren to be able to 
experience Cozumel's reefs just as we have. This seemed like a great 
opportunity to directly support real grassroots conservation.” Bill and 
Alice raised $550 by holding a barbecue and raffle with their friends and 
family. The funds will help pay for a handheld GPS, digital cameras, and 
other much needed equipment to patrol the Cozumel National Marine Park.

Coral reef marine protected areas are critical to the present and future 
survival of coral reefs, but they are often understaffed and under funded. 
All too often, park managers are unable to purchase necessary equipment, or 
pay for important conservation projects, because they lack the time and 
resources to fundraise to cover the costs. As Miguel Alamilla, Park Manager 
of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, stated, “this program has helped take some 
of the pressure off of our staff, so that we can focus on what we’re here to 
do – patrol, monitor, and protect Hol Chan’s coral reefs.”

The Park Buddy program is part of the annual Dive In to Earth Day event, 
developed to raise awareness of coral reefs and ocean issues. In the past 
five years, 200,000 people have organized more than 1,000 Dive In activities 
in 89 countries and territories, including beach cleanups and educational 
seminars. CORAL coordinates Dive In with the support of Project AWARE 
Foundation, Earth Day Network, International Coral Reef Action Network 
(ICRAN), Air Pacific, and West Marine.

Park Buddy 2005 sites will be announced in October.
For more information visit: www.coral.org/divein/parkbuddy
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