Written by: Joey Mandara
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA)’s Florida Sea Base has a functioning land based coral nursery (one of a few in the Keys) with 12 raceways growing ~6,000 corals and a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program that serves 3,500 young men and women each year. Under the guidance of our STEM Director, youth participated in the fragmenting, growing and planting of corals to restore our reefs, specifically bouldering species. They also participated in monitoring and collecting data on the coral along with other programs to support ocean environments.
The benefits of this project are tangible and immediate: growing and planting thousands of corals on Florida’s Coral Reef and engaging young women and men to become “citizen scientists” and ocean champions, making a positive difference in the environment.
During the project, Florida Sea Base added 7 new 178-gallon raceways, totaling 19 raceways on site. Each raceway has the potential to hold up to 1,000 corals. This work consisted of making raceway legs and leveling raceways. To date, the coral nursery is housing ~6,725 corals consisting of 8 species of corals: Orbicella faveolata, Solenastrea bournoni, Psuedodiploria clivosa, Pseudodiploria strigosa, Acropora cervicornis, Acropora palmata, Porites astreoides and the addition of Montastraea cavernosa.
During the fall season BSA had 8 STEM crews working in the nursery and to date, for the summer program, BSA has had 9 crews working in the nursery. This totals 136 individuals on a rotating basis, that worked in the nursery.
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