[Coral-List] Post for input from coral-list membersconcerningeducation, outreach, and coral reef decline in Florida

Collier, Chantal Chantal.Collier at dep.state.fl.us
Wed Nov 26 10:42:35 EST 2008

Dear Brian,

Thanks for sharing the perspective of students you are working with in
Florida. It is disheartening to know and continue hearing that many students
who live in coastal areas know little about the value of their marine
environment. Unfortunately, this is a problem that exists not only in
Florida, but throughout the United States.  

In Florida, outreach and education about coral reefs has been ongoing for
many years through various government programs such as those conducted by the
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and non-govermnental programs such as
those found at Newfound Harbor Marine Institute/Seacamp in the Keys. 

More recently, through the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI),
the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been working with
numerous partners to increase awareness and appreciation of the southeast
Florida coral reef ecosystem off "mainland" Florida. Through the SEFCRI
Awareness and Appreciation focus area, we have implemented dozens of
education/outreach local action strategy projects targeting Florida residents
and visitors. The complete SEFCRI Local Action Strategy is available at
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/programs/coral/ and the products of many
completed SEFCRI projects can be viewed at 
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/programs/coral/reports/ . 

One SEFCRI local action strategy project targeting both teachers and students
is the highly successful series of coral reef teacher trainings we have
conducted. Five teacher training workshops and related SEFCRI projects have
resulted in a network of over 600 teachers in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach
and Martin counties who are bringing coral reef education curricula into
their classrooms. The workshop curriculum meets the State of Florida's
Sunshine Standards enabling Teacher Education Certification credits and
stipends to be awarded to participating teachers. Lesson plans are
incorporated into the curriculum so that the teachers have a direct
application of the knowledge learned. Teacher satisfaction with the program
and requests for additional workshops has been overwhelming, so we plan to
continue offering future teacher training opportunities, as funding allows. 

Educational public service announcements (PSAs) about southeast Florida's
reefs have also been created in 4 video formats - 10 minute, 3 minute and two
30-second spots. These are airing on local television stations, in movie
theaters and in-house hotel television information systems throughout
southeast Florida, and we continue to seek new distribution outlets for these
products. The videos are also provided to teachers and others for use in
other educational programs. Audio PSA's have also been developed and aired on
south Florida radio stations. These video and audio PSA's are available for
download from
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/programs/coral/reports/ .

Despite these efforts and so many others, it is clear that much more still
needs to be done to improve awareness and appreciation of the marine
environment and the threats to ocean health at local, regional, national and
of course global scales. I look forward to seeing the results of your ocean
literacy/coral reef decline study. I also encourage you to ensure the final
study report is directed not only to the coral reef community but to school
boards and other educational system regulators, as well as elected
officials/decision makers.


Chantal Collier

Chantal Collier
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Coral Reef Conservation Program

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From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of ENGMAN, JAMES
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 5:44 PM
To: Brian Plankis; coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Post for input from coral-list
membersconcerningeducation, outreach, and coral reef decline in Florida


I don't have any information on Florida's specific political or
educational situation, but I do think that your student's observation
points out an important shortfall in communicating with the public,
something that to an extent was an issue considered at the recent ICRS.
I'd like to point the reef community's attention to a video that was
mentioned in one posting last spring: the Hawaii Reef Etiquette video by
Ziggy Livnat. Available for viewing at www.forthesea.com, this provides
a model of something that, if produced for the Caribbean, could be
valuable on a very wide scale, and potentially used in educating a wide
range of people about the basics of what not to do when you are on a
reef.  My understanding is that this video is shown as a PSA on flights
landing in Hawaii. I think that's genius. 

I would think that some organization(s) out there would be interested in
funding this sort of a project to be used in the Caribbean.  Just my two

Jamie Engman  


James Engman, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology and Chair
Department of Biology
Box 7520
Henderson State University
Arkadelphia, AR 71999-0001
phone 870-230-5314
fax 870-230-5144

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Brian
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 2:40 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Post for input from coral-list members
concerningeducation, outreach, and coral reef decline in Florida

Dear coral-listers,

My name is Brian Plankis and I am the president of the non-profit
organization the Reef Stewardship Foundation and a doctoral candidate in
College of Education at the University of Houston.

I am currently running an educational research study in collaboration
Eric Borneman. The topics of the study are ocean literacy, coral reef
decline, and the International Year of the Reef. One of the high schools
that is participating in our study is in Florida and we have some great

The students are conducting what are called "issue investigations" where
they not only look at the science about environmental problems and
but also the social and political factors that influence their chosen

Due to research study rules we cannot have the students use coral-list,
we have one group of students that is quite upset about coral reef
and they have asked numerous questions. While we have answered them and
addressed some of their concerns, one question struck a serious chord of
concern to us and we would like the feedback of the list. Below is the
question from the student:

>>Title: I have beef with the school system.

Concern: "Since I've lived in Florida, I have never seen a warning sign
stating the effects of touching coral or other human interaction with
biodiversity issues. Actually I never really knew much about the reefs
anything else related to the ocean until I started taking marine bio.
lived in Florida for most of my life and I was never aware of these
environmental problems. Why isn't there more stress put upon the
of the ocean when we live on a peninsula? Why wasn't I taught this in
integrated science or previous sciences I took in middle school? Is
bio. and oceanography a fairly new science? Or is there opposition to
importance? I've talked to a few of my friends and they feel the same

We would like to request any comments from coral-list members,
especially if
you have knowledge of Florida's situation, educational system, or
environment, and I will post your responses to our private discussion
for the research study. If the students have additional questions that
benefit from the input of the list, I will post them as well.

Thanks for your prompt consideration of this request.


Brian Plankis
University of Houston
College of Education
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
brian.plankis at reefstewardshipfoundation.org

Eric Borneman
University of Houston
Department of Biology and Bicohemistry
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