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Awareness and Appreciation Focus Team Highlights

Introduction

The Awareness and Appreciation (AA) Focus Team was formed to address coral reef degradation that can be attributed to a lack of knowledge or understanding by the general public. Lack of awareness and appreciation is a significant source of the continued degradation of this ecosystem and is recognized by the United States Coral Reef Task Force as a threat to reefs. Impacts from activities conducted by users unaware of the presence and vulnerability of the reef could be reduced through a combination of strategies to increase awareness and refine some use practices. The aim of the projects in the local action strategy for this focus area is to encourage positive behaviors and decisions that benefit coral reefs among citizens and visitors in southeast Florida.

Goals and Objectives

One of the key objectives of the AA Focus Team is to educate the residents and visitors to the region about our diverse near shore coral resources, the benefits of these resources, as well as current threats and conservation actions that individuals can take to protect our coral reefs and marine environment.

Team Membership

The AA team is comprised of 16 member organizations*, which include:

  • Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve
  • Broward County Audubon
  • The Cline Group
  • Cry of the Water
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Southeast District Office - State Navigator
  • Florida Flora and Fauna, Inc.
  • Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary - Federal Navigator
  • Florida Sea Grant
  • Martin County Department of Environmental Planning
  • National Coral Reef Institute
  • NOVA High School
  • Science Eye
  • The Seriff Group
  • South Broward Marine Magnet School
  • Tropical Audubon Society - NGO Navigator
  • Vone Research

The navigators listed above are the primary points of contact for the AA Focus Team and are responsible for representing SEFCRI and the AA Focus Team within their agencies and/or to stakeholders.

Volunteers picking up trash

Become a volunteer! Participate in a beach or reef cleanup. Keep trash out of oceans and landfills by recycling. Report illegal dumping - contact the Florida State Warning Point at 1-800-320-0519.
Photo: Marella Bradway-Crane,
Florida Sea Grant

Boater using a buoy to avoid reefs

Use nautical charts and mooring buoys to avoid coral reefs when boating. Where no mooring buoys are available anchor in a sandy spot.

Teacher training workshop

A Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative teacher training.

Project Examples

The AA team is working to implement 38 projects over the course of five years. These projects include the creation of outreach materials such as brochures, exhibits, hotel tent cards and this website; teacher trainings; public service announcements; and posting coral reef signage at public boat ramps in the four SEFCRI Counties. The team also conducted a Needs Assessment Study to better understand coral reef knowledge, attitudes and practices of residents, visitors and stakeholder groups in the SEFCRI region. You may view all 38 of the AA team's projects by visiting http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/programs/coral/ and clicking on the SEFCRI Local Action Strategy.


Anticipated Outcomes

  • Better coordinated and targeted coral reef ecosystem outreach and education effort in southeast Florida
  • Increased positive behaviors and decisions that benefit coral reefs
  • A well-educated media that will communicate important reef conservation messages

 

 

Focus Teams

Gorgonian coral

A common gorgonian on southeast Florida reefs.
Photo: Dave Gilliam, National Coral Reef Institute

If you are interested in receiving updates or would like to sign up as a stakeholder, please contact us at Coral@dep.state.fl.us

Last updated: August 11, 2014

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