Zoological Society To Host “Reef Watch” Event

May 27, 2015

Polar explorer and environmentalist, Robert Swan OBE, once said: “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

“Bermuda remains on the precipice when it comes to protecting its natural resources, particularly its coral reef system, which provides us with provision, protection and pleasure. Therefore, it is vital that we, as a society, continue to seek ways to conserve this indispensable resource,” the BZS said.

“Thanks to the continued support of lead sponsor HISCOX, the Bermuda Zoological Society [BZS] is heading back out on the water with its team of citizen scientists to survey coral reefs around the island for a third consecutive year as a part of the annual BZS Reef Watch.

“The event, which is also supported by Groundswell, supports the ongoing research of Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Analysis and Monitoring [BREAM], under the direction of Dr. Thaddeus Murdoch.

A Reef Watch participant records data on the numbers of fish seen on their assigned reef.

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Speaking on our coral reefs, Jeremy Pinchin, CEO of HISCOX, said: “Our protection of them remains vital today given the protection they provide to the island and the economic benefits the island derives from them.

“They will provide a glorious backdrop when the island is on show to the world during the America’s Cup. We hope everyone privileged to live in Bermuda can join us, in any way they can, to help protect this wonderful asset.

“HISCOX is delighted to support the Reef Watch project. I’d urge as many people as possible to sign up as citizen scientists, and make a contribution towards protecting the future of our reef.”

The BZS added, “Coupling sun and sea, fun and excitement, with civic responsibility and a little bit of good-hearted competition, Reef Watch participants have a unique opportunity to enjoy a pleasurable day out on the water whilst making a lasting contribution to ongoing research into Bermuda’s coral reefs.

“While Bermuda currently has some of the healthiest reefs in the world, ongoing monitoring allows scientists to more easily monitor and protect hundreds of square miles of reef to ensure that Bermuda’s reefs continue to be conserved for future generations.

“In addition to the day out on the water, teams also compete to raise funds for reef conservation, with the top teams being awarded prizes for their efforts at a barbecue held on the grounds of the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo for all the participants at the end of the day. Last year, BZS raised $24,573 for coral reef research.”

Whole families enjoyed themselves while contributing data to important scientific research

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“The day was incredible and we had a great time surveying our healthy ‘Coral Coast’, not to mention the phenomenal results and barbecue. The event is really well organized,” shared Sam Outerbridge of Coral Coast Clothing, whose team ‘Coral Coast’ were the top fundraising team during the 2014 event.

Desiring to demonstrate good corporate responsibility, the clothing company saw BZS Reef Watch as a natural fit.

Mr. Outerbridge added: “We chose Reef Watch because it was so closely tied to our company’s name, Coral Coast, and the beautiful coral reefs we know so well. We also knew that Reef Watch is a strong grassroots initiative that assured us the money raised would go directly to the reefs.”

Dr. Thaddeus Murdoch, lead scientist with BREAM, shares an overview of the data collected in the 2014 Reef Watch event.

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The BZS added, “This year, the event is scheduled for Saturday, June 27th and it is hoped that many more will join in. Each team of four will be assigned two reefs and will be provided with the necessary training to successfully conduct a survey on the health of those reefs.

“Teams must provide their own water transport out to the reefs, and are also asked to try and raise at least $500, the proceeds of which all go towards reef conservation and protection.

“Without question, those participating in BZS Reef Watch are sure to have an excellent time. Those interested in creating or joining a team are encourage to visit www.crowdrise.com/reefwatch, or for more information, contact development.bzs@gov.bm. Training nights are scheduled for June 23rd and June 24th. A training video is also available online as a refresher for past participants [link here].

“A full copy of the 2014 BZS Reef Watch Report, which includes results from last year’s event, can be downloaded from: [link here]”

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