[Coral-List] Change it RE: positive impact for coral reefs

Reese, Jessica Jessica.Reese at CZS.org
Tue Aug 23 10:56:12 EDT 2011

Coral listers,


I agree with Sarah and Dave!  It's funny you should mention the wide gap
between scientists and recreational dive enthusiasts, because I was
getting ready to post on that very topic. I am on a mission to mobilize
the international SCUBA diving community from complacency to compassion
for coral reefs. By inspiring others to become impassioned advocates, I
will help to create a revolutionary movement of divers who work to
reduce their carbon FINPRINT and become vocal advocates of a coral
conservation. Please help me to bridge this gap.


My name is Jess Reese. I am a zoology graduate candidate with Miami
University of Ohio. My focus is coral conservation. I am a zoo
interpreter and a PADI Dive Master. My Master plan is to forge a new
field in environmental education: Underwater Interpretation. All around
the world, there are hundreds of thousands of Dive Masters who serve as
guides on coral reefs around the world. Their certifying organizations
tell them that they have only 3 jobs: 


1) Keep the divers alive 

2) Keep divers from getting lost 

3) Take care of the rental gear.  


But these DiveMasters have an incredible opportunity to interpret the
indescribably beautiful resources that the ocean is rife with. My plan
is to develop an interpretive training program for DiveMasters, giving
them tools to use both interpretive techniques and inquiry methods while
they connect millions of divers to the coral reef and ocean ecosystems.
I believe that if this initiative is accepted by the SCUBA certifying
organizations and becomes a part of DiveMaster culture, this will result
in a community of divers that have a deeper understanding and
appreciation of the ocean's fragile ecosystems.


In order to forge a new field in interpretation, I will need assistance
of experts.  Perhaps among the list serve are people that can help me?


One upcoming project is called an Inquiry Action Plan in which I will
need to compare two things, while measuring one. I would like to apply
one treatment on a dive: Interpretation and Inquiry and measure the
effects it has on the Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavior changes of the
group on the dive. Compare it to a dive without the treatment. I predict
that the trend will be one of deeper understanding, appreciation, and
advocacy of coral reefs from the group that experienced the connecting
DiveMaster.  Another option for this Inquiry Action Plan is beginning
with a conservation psychology survey among any and all divers that I
can reach. I could investigate whether divers who have experienced a
DiveMaster who employed interpretive techniques (relating, universal
concepts, thematically organized) have a greater knowledge about coral
ecology, demonstrate attitudes of concern for coral conservation and
behave in such a way to protect coral reefs compared to divers without
that experience from DiveMasters.  I predict that divers who have
experienced underwater interpretation and inquiry from DiveMasters will
show a great connection through knowledge, attitudes and behavior


>From this point we can show the certifying organizations that it works
and will ultimately help them in numerous ways, least of all which is
growing the industry and protecting their resource.


It is not enough to take people out in nature and expect that
connections will be made.  True, some will do this, but active
engagement, such as scientific inquiry will be a main ingredient in the
interpretive training program that I design.  To address the shifting
baselines syndrome (it's a problem with recreational divers, not just
scientists!)here's what I am thinking:

The nature of diving naturally lends itself to the cycle of inquiry.
Here's how I envision it working:

-During the dive briefing: pose a question.

-On the dive: Facilitate the inquiry through observation. Perhaps
introduce the divers to a beautiful coral mound. Then have them compare
the diversity found on that coral mound to the diversity shown in a
laminated photograph taken 5 yrs earlier (or 10, 15, etc). How is it

-Debrief and surface interval: Facilitate the reflection, and pose new

It is not enough to take people out in nature and expect that
connections will be made.  Some will do this, but active engagement, the
use of interpretive principles and learner-centered experiences will
optimize these connections, creating "peak" moment. The use of the cycle
of inquiry will be a main ingredient in the interpretive training
program that I design.


Well, that is my dharma in a nutshell. I don't know if I will be
receiving institutional support from the zoo that I work for, they are
investigating the possibility of helping, but the wheels move slow in
Not-for-profits. This is something I will accomplish on my own, likely.
Anyone care to help a passionate graduate student on a mission?


Jess Reese

Interpretive Programs Coordinator

Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo

3300 Golf Rd.

Brookfield, IL 60513



-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Sarah
Sent: Monday, August 22, 2011 2:51 PM
To: kestdvm at yahoo.com; coral list
Subject: [Coral-List] Change it RE: positive impact for coral reefs



Dave and coral-list,

In July 2008, just before and during the last International Coral Reef
Symposium in Fort Lauderdale,Florida,  I went SCUBA diving with several
dive charters in the area. None of the crew on those charters or the
dive shop owners were aware that the greatest concentration of coral
reef scientists in the world was happening in their own town, to discuss
the science and future of coral reefs. These were people whose life
depended on having some sort of living coral reef, and they were not
aware of the meeting. No TV coverage, newspapers, radio, etc. or at
least not enough to reach out to them. After every dive, I spent some
time explaining to the crew and divers the main issues discussed at
ICRS, and there was a rainbow of reactions: surprised, amazed, shocked,

In one of the general sessions during ICRS, I mentioned this total
disconnect between the meeting, and the awareness in the local
community, which happened to depend heavily on services provided by
coral reefs.  I also extended the issue on how such disconnection
expands to a global scale. The reaction: well, quite a bunch of people
looked at me as if I was an alien from a different planet. I thought I
was one of them... a scientist doing research on coral reefs. But
apparently, I had pointed at the white elephant in the room, and
suddenly, I became an outcast.

Perhaps the organizers of the upcoming ICRS conference have been
thinking about it, and we can expect great things from that meeting... 

Yes, we need awareness and we need lobbyists to champion the
conservation of coral reefs. But we need the change to come from within.

Scientists doing research on coral reefs must take a deep breath every
time they SCUBA dive, look around, and remember that what they are
studying is dying every day from neglect and apathy. 

Change it. 

Extend your fieldwork one extra day, and spend that day talking to the
people that need the coral reef (for food, for money, for recreation)
and explain to them what is at stake. Talk to the politicians in that
location.. Take them diving, on a boat, stick their head in the water
(literally), open their minds to what is going on. Back in your lab,
take time from your busy schedule and talk to your own government
officials and spread the word.

I do it. Everything I can fit in my crazy schedule. Everything I can to
get the word out. 

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. Schmidt Ocean Institute Postdoctoral
FellowOcean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) 1420 Seaway
Drive, Fort Pierce, Florida 34949 USA Tel (772)



> Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 08:29:36 -0700

> From: kestdvm at yahoo.com

> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

> Subject: [Coral-List] positive impact for coral reefs


> Everyone is studying coral science, but it will have no impact, and
the reefs 

> will be gone in 50 years. They are 90% gone in the Caribbean already. 

> What we need is to develop a strategy of getting a national spokesman 

> and lobbying group to bring reef concerns to the fore front of peoples

> awareness. This was how we got rid of hair spray when the ozone was

> issue. Energy issues have changed much of national strategy. Tree 

> huggers saved the red wood forest. We have nothing like this in reef 

> ecology. Developing a national and world wide strategy of putting the 

> reef in the forefront of news is the only way we'll save them. Any 

> meeting should have this issue at the top of it's agenda. This is 

> urgent! I hope you all discuss this with colleagues and make something
happen. If not, you can make a 1 career of studying reefs for the next
20 years, but why bother training others if there is no meaningful way
to make an 

> impact now. This is where the money should flow. Find a benefactor.
Find a spokesman/woman. It's clear that the primary and probably only
cause of reef failure are due to man's activity. Why not have some one
concentrate on this issue as the primary issue for anyone wanting to see
the reefs come back. 

> Dr. Dave Kestenman

> _______________________________________________

> Coral-List mailing list

> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list



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