NCCOS and OCRM’s Coral Reef Conservation Program successfully concluded a series of unique community outreach activities in Puerto Rico called ‘ReefSmart’ – A Coral Reef Ecosystem Education Initiative. The 2012 Nancy Foster Mapping Mission to map PuertoRico’s coral reef ecosystems and fish habitats served as a platform for hosting a series of unique events designedto engage students, teachers, managers, partners, stakeholders and policy makers to increase the awareness ofcoral reef ecosystem research and conservation stories from across NCCOS and the CRCP.
Reef Smart consistedof three components: Reef Smart Day at Sea for policy makers, Be Reef Smart! Kid’s Day, and the Reef SmartManager and Academic Researcher Open House. Reef Smart Day at Sea was attended by key decision makersin Puerto Rico and the region, including: a representative for the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, thesecretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the commissioner from theU.S. Virgin Island Department of Planning and Natural Resources, as well as leadership from the U.S. CoastGuard Base in San Juan. Nearly 40 students and several teachers from Guanica and San Juan participated in BeReef Smart.
Finally, dozens of managers and NGO representatives took part in the open house to discuss waysNOAA existing technology, data and expertise can be leveraged to support the needs of local managers and coralreef priority areas.