[Coral-List] Education of the masses

Julian Sprung julian at tlfusa.com
Fri Jul 25 18:35:28 EDT 2008

Just thought I'd post a thought on the topic-

I think that one of the best ways to educate the masses about coral reefs is to encourage them to have live coral in a reef aquarium at home or in the classroom, or to visit a public aquarium with one.

Reef researchers on this list who have never attempted to grow corals in a reef aquarium may be opposed to that idea. There are plenty of reef loving folks who simply will not understand what I am proposing. Fortunately there are plenty who do. Those who have set up reef aquariums surely know what I mean about their value in educating everyone who comes in contact with them. Not everyone can go to the tropics to see a live reef, but these days anyone can see an amazing reef aquarium literally anywhere. I have been delighted to see them in private homes, universities and high schools all over the world. Public aquariums too have been following the lead of private hobbyists, and there are some great public aquarium reefs to be seen these days.

For those who doubt the idea that the harvest of corals and other reef life can be sustainable, there is now available a high diversity of completely captive-grown corals, fishes, and invertebrates.

A photo, a program, and a message has some merit, but firsthand one-on-one with a live fluorescing, pulsing, growing, thriving reef that one can visit as often as one wants to is worth much more than a thousand words in the direction of "educating the masses" and promoting reef conservation.

My 2 cents anyway!

Julian Sprung

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov on behalf of Steve Gittings
Sent: Wed 7/23/2008 11:07 AM
To: Rogers, Alice
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov; Letise Houser; Lori Arguelles; Antares Ramos Álvarez; Kate Thompson; Shelley Dupuy
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Education of the masses
An additional thought.  I used to manage the Flower Garden Banks 
National Marine Sanctuary, off the Texas/Louisiana coast in the Gulf of 
Mexico.  We were approached by a firm that placed advertisements in 
airports in the region.  They designed an add for the sanctuary and used 
it as filler when space was available, at no cost to us.  For years, it 
was almost always up somewhere in numerous airports.

If anyone has such ties, especially with national firms, it might be a 
very low cost way to get additional exposure for the messages, as well 
as some design help from experts.

Steve Gittings

Rogers, Alice wrote:
> I think this is a great idea! Maybe we could have some sort of coral-list competition to design a few and then put the designs forward for funding?
> Alice Rogers
> PhD Candidate
> Imperial College London
> ________________________________
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov on behalf of Antares Ramos Álvarez
> Sent: Tue 22/07/2008 18:00
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: [Coral-List] Education of the masses
> ¡Hola!
> I've been brainstorming about how to get the message out on why the reefs
> are important...which I'm very grateful it was given such media emphasis
> during the closing of the ICRS.  And I just thought of billboards, those
> hideous and obnoxious adds we see when we are driving.  If we can't beat
> them, join them...
> Simple messages such as,
> "Did you know that corals are animals? We can still save them" (the
> inspiration for this one I thank Sarah Frias-Torres, who was telling me how
> one of the main issues to get the Acroporas listed under the US Endangered
> Species List was that the public and politicians thought that corals were
> rocks).
> "Did you know that coral reefs are responsible for providing food to N% of
> the world?"
> "Did you know that corals are an important component in HIV and cancer
> medicines?", etc. etc. etc.
> Simple yet informative and educational.
> BUT funding would definitely be the huge issue here.  Any ideas on funding
> bodies that would be interested?  Maybe the media could donate space in
> their papers and programs?
> I think this could be a great effort and a great campaign to start on the
> year of the coral reefs to serve the purpose of educating the masses.  Food
> for thought...(pretty much literally!)
> I'd love to hear any comments.
> With best wishes from Puerto Rico,
> Antares
> Antares Ramos-Alvarez, MSc
> PhD Candidate
> Tropical Ecology Group
> University of Oxford, UK
> --
> "Some of the most peaceful moments are lived underwater, while trying to
> coexist with that world."
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