2012 “Reef Smart” Event Increases Awareness of Coral Reef Ecosystem Research and Conservation to Stakeholders and Public in Puerto Rico
NCCOS and OCRM’s Coral Reef Conservation Program successfully concluded a series of unique community outreach activities in Puerto Rico called “Reef Smart”—A Coral Reef Ecosystem Education Initiative. The 2012 Nancy Foster Mapping Mission to map Puerto Rico’s coral reef ecosystems and fish habitats served as a platform for hosting a series of unique events designed to engage students, teachers, managers, partners, stakeholders and policy makers to increase the awareness of coral reef ecosystem research and conservation stories from across NCCOS and the CRCP.
Reef Smart consisted of three components: Reef Smart Day at Sea for policy makers, Be Reef Smart! Kid’s Day, and the Reef Smart Manager and Academic Researcher Open House. Reef Smart Day at Sea was attended by key decision makers in Puerto Rico and the region, including: a representative for the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, the secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the commissioner from the U.S. Virgin Island Department of Planning and Natural Resources, as well as leadership from the U.S. Coast Guard Base in San Juan. Nearly 40 students and several teachers from Guanica and San Juan participated in Be Reef Smart.
Finally, dozens of managers and NGO representatives took part in the open house to discuss ways NOAA existing technology, data and expertise can be leveraged to support the needs of local managers and coral reef priority areas. For more details on the Reef Smart events visit http://noaaoceanscience.wordpress.com/