Moorea Coral Gardeners
Mo'orea, located only ten nautical miles from Tahiti, is one of the most scenically striking islands in French Polynesia. Apart from being a top honeymoon destination, this little island is home to a small group of friends who call themselves Moorea Coral Gardeners, an organization of kids and young adults who wants to rebuild the coral reefs in Polynesia.
They are a team of surfers, fishermen and free divers who have experienced first hand just how precious our oceans and coral reefs are. Founder and President Titouan Bernicot, 19, was born and raised on a Polynesian atoll to parents who ran a pearl farm. In between fishing and surfing, the ocean became his playground, but over the years he began to notice that the coral reefs were disappearing. That was when he decided to start replant coral. Titouan founded Moorea Coral Gardeners 4 years ago. The team has since attracted attention and support from scientists, biologists, photographers and conservationists from all over the world.
"Coral reef takes years to build, but can disappear in three weeks"
-Jason Vii, Center for Island Research and Environmental Observation, Mo'orea
These inspiring young souls are on a mission to educate the world on the threats to coral reefs, raise awareness about the current state of our oceans, and restore life on the reef through coral gardening; i.e planting healthy coral fragments back onto the reef. "The coral reefs are the lungs of the ocean. They produce two thirds of the oxygen we breathe, they are the forests of the ocean and constitute the foundation and the balance of aquatic life. But there is a huge problem..."
50% of Mo'oreas coral reefs are dead.
20% of the world coral reefs are dead.
30% are already condemned.
All the remaining ones are predicted to disappear in the years to come.
If nothing is done, the scientists predict that by 2050
there will be no more corals on earth,
thus no more fish, no more sea life.
"The solution is education
and reef restoration"
Their mission is simple, to educate people about coral and to restore the reef. They hold seminars and workshops for both kids and adults at local schools, universities and any venue that supports their work. The more people understand the critical role of our reefs, the more likely they are to take greater care.
When the the team is not educating people and raising awareness for their cause, they are out in the ocean picking up coral that has been broken off by tourists and fishermen. The coral that is still alive gets fixed on bamboo that later gets planted in their underwater nursery, a metal frame a couple of feet below the surface. Three weeks later, once those little coral fragments have grown, they will be replanted back onto the threatened areas of the reef and help recreate the reef environment. With new healthy coral, aquatic life will be able to return and strengthen the new reef.
According to WWF, coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine life. The variety of life supported by coral reefs ranges from microscopic plankton to whales, a number that rivals the tropical forests of the Amazon. For many coastal areas, the reefs play an important role by offering food, jobs, resources for biomedical research and protection from storms, floodings and erosion. Coral reefs are some of our richest and most complex eco systems on the planet. Currently threatened by climate change, destructive fishing practises, overfishing, careless tourism, pollution, sedimentation and coral mining.
Save the reef, adopt a coral!
For 25 euros you can support the Moorea Gardeners by adopting a baby coral and becoming an ambassador. You can learn more about their work and how to get involved on their website. Most importantly, they want encourage you to learn more about our reefs and why they are in such need of our protection.
The children are the future, they are the guardians of our planet. By involving young minds in the greatest challenges our word is facing, we will see a great deal more creative solutions, just like this one. THIS is the way to educate, this is the way to truly encourage leadership, responsibility, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.
“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.”