In The Spotlight: Coral Gardeners
Communities will find their own ways to talk
about marine conservation and to support it.
– Marie-Céline Piednoir –
DG: Thanks for joining us today. Can you share with us the mission and vision of your organisation as well as the challenges the team is tackling?
Our mission: Coral Gardeners was created to save the coral reefs of Mo’orea, Polynesia and the world. We are raising awareness around the world of the disappearance of coral reefs, restoring damaged areas and working with scientists to improve our coral restoration techniques. We are taking action to resolve the problems our reefs are facing. We exist to create hope for coral reefs through education and coral reef restoration.
Our vision: We are all part of the great human reef. Our future will be the sum of our individual actions. Although changing the world is a big endeavour, it can all start by fixing one broken coral. Save the reef, save the ocean, save the world.
Our project was born on April 28 2017, in Moorea, the sister island of Tahiti, in the Pacific Ocean. We are young surfers and fishermen nicknamed «the children of the Ocean». As we saw the degradation of reefs in recent years, we decided to take action. We want to raise awareness around the world of the disappearance of coral reefs, restore damaged areas and work with scientists to improve our coral restoration techniques.
DG: What is the team doing to solve the challenges?
Marie-Céline: We believe raising awareness is key to build a better future for our oceans. We are telling the story of the reef worldwide through conferences, school lectures, ecotours or social media. We want everyone on this planet to know how important coral reefs are. We engage the general public in our actions to ensure that they are informed and become reef ambassadors around the world. Through interventions in schools, ecotours or conferences, we inform as many people as possible of the urgency that we are currently facing in preserving coral reefs and their importance for our planet.
Also, we restore coral reefs. First step is to collect broken pieces of corals, then put them on bamboo stems. We place them on our nursery tables for one month before planting them back on the reef. That’s the most efficient way for us to bring new life to the reef. Our scientists are monitoring the growth of the corals we plant and improving our reef restoration methods and knowledge.
DG: What can us as scuba divers do to contribute?
Marie-Céline: Raise awareness with us about coral reefs! Talk about Coral Gardeners around you and tell people that everyone can support our mission by adopting a coral.
Tourism will have to go towards sustainable diving anyway. We have to make the most of tourism to discover cultures, to learn and to raise awareness about the beauty of our plant. In the meantime, we need to respect this planet.
Marie-Céline’s thoughts on sustainable tourism especially for dive operators and local communities
DG: It’s commonly heard that education is key in creating a sustainable tourism industry and marine conservation. There has been an increase in media coverage on these global issues; however, we are also seeing a slow progression from the communities to put knowledge into action. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon? How can we tackle this problem?
Marie-Céline: It is a question of phases. First, people need to be aware of the issue, what is happening or has happened. Then people need to understand the issue and to feel CONNECTED to it. Coral Gardeners use social media to connect people with coral reefs and show how important coral reefs are for everyone. THEN, people can act. Coral Gardeners is also giving a simple way for people to act and help: adopt a coral. But we will be working on more ways to let people contribute. Stay tuned! Every single action counts.
DG: As a non-profit organization, how important are the monetary contributions from the public for your team and what will it be used for?
Marie-Céline: It is very important! The adoptions cover 70% of the budget we need to save the reef!
DG: What are some of the current projects your team is working on?
Marie-Céline: We are upgrading our reef restoration program to a “super corals” program. We will now focus on replanting more heat-resilient corals back onto the damaged reef. More to come soon!
DG: Any upcoming projects?
Marie-Céline: Many! Next year, we want to revolutionise marine conservation and create a collaborative action to save the reef. We want to integrate more innovations and technologies in our reef restoration program. We want to open our first antenna!
DG: Could you share with us what is one of the most fulfilling moments of your team’s work?
Marie-Céline: When we look at the before/after images of some of the corals we replanted! We ARE bringing life back onto the reef!
DG: What do you think the future of marine conservation would look like?
Marie-Céline: We will still have the main key players, and I hope governments and big companies will follow the example. I also think it will become more and more a collaborative effort. Communities will find their own ways to talk about marine conservation and to support it. Indeed, we cannot all help in the same way so communities will gather to find different solutions that correspond to their own realities.
DG: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Marie-Céline: Everyone can support our mission by adopting a coral and by spreading the word! We all can have an impact. You can start with adopting a coral: https://www.coralgardeners.org/adopt-corals