|Reef Fund seeks volunteers to restore Coral Gardens snorkel trail|
|Wednesday, 07 December 2011 17:49|
Restoration of snorkel trail markers around the popular near shore reef at Coral Gardens is set for Dec. 18, and the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund is looking for volunteers.
The one-day project at the reef, which also known as the Bight Reef or White House Reef, will begin at 9 a.m. and at 2 p.m. During the project, Somewhere on the Beach will be hosting a beach party with food and drink specials and live music.
The work will involve removing and thoroughly cleaning all the markers that are underwater at strategic locations around the snorkeling reef. Each ceramic tile trail marker will be carefully removed from its Reef Ball base by local scuba divers and then brought to shore to be cleaned by volunteers using a environmentally friendly cleaning protocol developed by the TCRF.
After cleaning, the trail markers will be reinstalled by the scuba divers. In addition, several of the trail markers are either missing or damaged and new ceramic tile markers have been produced by the local artists who produced the original trail markers. These new markers will be installed that day and this work will involve also repairing several of the reef ball mounts.
Volunteer snorkelers are needed to provide surface assistance to the divers working underwater. The snorkelers will help transport the trail markers from their site on the reef to the shore for cleaning and then back out to the divers for reinstallation underwater.
Other volunteers will be asked to help with the cleaning effort which will be done right on the beach so people can learn more about the TCRF and the snorkel trail.
More than 10 years ago, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office and more than 30 local businesses and individuals paid for the snorkel trail markers, and their names appear on the tiles. Marine ecologists Marsha Pardee and Gudrun Gaudian were the project leaders, and local artists Pamela Leach and Barbara Young designed and created the tile markers.
But the reef hasn’t had funding for upkeep until now. Long-time visitors and part-time residents Don Stark and David Stone founded TCRF to help with projects just like this one.
“Since this is such a popular destination for both guests and local residents, we felt it was an important project for the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund to undertake,” Stone said. “The trail markers have been unattended for so long that most are no longer readable by snorkelers on the surface. When this work is done, the trail markers will be clearly visible to all visitors to this reef.”
A raffle will be held for a Beaches Day/Night pass for two people, a prize valued at $250. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the event or in advance of the event by contacting Stone at 346-3111. The drawing will be held during the Beach Party at Somewhere on the Beach.
Founded in 2010, TCRF is a volunteer-run organization that provides funding for education, research and conservation programs to individuals, organizations and agencies that help to preserve and protect the marine environment of the TCI. More than 85 percent of all funds raised through voluntary contributions from divers and snorkelers visiting the TCI are directed to the fund’s programs.
In a recent agreement with the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources, TCRF handles administrative responsibilities for the Blue Flag Programme, which requires strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and other services.
The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to more than 3,450 beaches and marinas in 41 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.
Three beaches in the TCI have flown the Blue Flag for the past three years — Governor’s Beach and Cruise Center Beach on Grand Turk and the Bight Children’s Park Beach on Providenciales.
Latest Local News
Tourist Board expands adding two new staff members
The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board announced this week it welcomed two new staff members to further More...
Cruise terminal to open April 8
Beginning Monday, April 8, thousands of cruise ship passengers will again begin to enjoy the More...
2013 TCI Elecrotal List Available
TCI 2013 Electors’ Register is Ready! Supervisor of Elections Mr. Dudley Lewis has announced More...
Misick Declared By-Election Winner
Supervisor of Elections Dudley Lewis has advised that the Progressive National Party's (PNP) Amanda More...
New Board leads TCHTA
On Wednesday, March 13, Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) bid farewell to its More...
TCI Protected Areas Series
The fp is publishing a series of articles on the Turks and Caicos Islands Protected Area System to increase public awareness and respect for the beauty and value of this "beautiful by nature" country.
The authors, marine ecologist Marsha Pardee and terrestrial ecologist Kathleen Wood, are long-time TCI residents and respected scientists in their fields.
Below are links to their articles, plus related news articles, documents and laws.
- 29/7/10: Chalk Sound National Park: Beauty and ecology
- 22/7/10: Protected Areas designations and differences
- 15/7/10: Long-term prosperity vs. short-term gain
- 8/7/10: Protected Areas save environment, generate revenue
- 5/8/10: Frenchman’s Creek: Prime real estate of TCI wetlands
Related news articles
- 1/7/10: Expert report warned about encroachment on protected areas
- 8/7/10: More than 250 lots carved in Provo parks
Links to environmental documents and laws