My internship focused on developing effective strategies for facilitating the growth and success of the Rescue A Reef (RAR) program, a Citizen Science (CS) project that enlists non-professionals to assist in efforts to restore populations of the ‘threatened’ coral species Acropora cervicornis (staghorn coral) along the Florida Reef Tract. Social media platforms, educational events, and public outreach were employed as educational tools to enhance program success for raising ocean conservation awareness. These were supplemented by hands-on coral restoration expeditions. The combined effect of these diverse activities was the development of a successful CS program that was able to reach a large audience of individuals interested in learning about coral reef conservation. At the end of the 6-month study, the cumulative reach of our social media platforms (2,895), educational seminars (682), and coral restoration expeditions (67) was 3,644 individuals. In addition, our citizen scientists successfully outplanted 421 staghorn colonies totaling to 150 meters of nursery-grown coral added to local coral reefs. The large number of individuals reached and the large amount of new coral added to depleted reefs show that the dynamic model utilized for the Rescue A Reef program was highly effective.
Hesley, Dalton J., "Enhancing the rescue a reef program through social media, education, and outreach" (2015). Internship Reports (Restricted). 71.
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