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Countdown To BZS’s “Reef Watch” Event
Excitement is mounting as teams have been registering for the upcoming Reef Watch which will be held on Saturday, August 31.
Reef Watch is a unique one-day event, sponsored by the Bermuda Zoological Society, which encourages the community to participate in a citizen science research project, all while raising funds for research and conservation efforts of Bermuda’s coral reefs.
“This project began as an attempt to address the recent loss of funding support for monitoring the health of our reef system,” explained BZS President Richard Winchell.
The organisers said,”The BZS is inviting teams, including a boat and a 4-person snorkel team, to register for the event, which will begin at midday and last all afternoon. Each team has been asked to raise at least $500 per boat, but top fundraisers will be awarded with prizes at the special field report and dinner that will conclude the event at Barr’s Bay Park.”
“The $500 raised per team entry will go directly to sustain reef monitoring by our scientists and interns, supporting our conservation and education mission,” Mr. Winchell said. “We suggest four team members per boat and we have encouraged each team to make a personal donation, and to encourage friends and colleagues to sponsor their boat to raise the $500 donation. Involving others increases awareness of the value and importance of a healthy reef.”
Before the event, teams will be invited to special training sessions to help them understand what to look for on the day, and participants will be provided with a specially designed slate to record their findings.
Once all the data is collected, the information will be compiled, evaluated and published on the BZS website, as well as the Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Analysis and Monitoring Progamme [BREAM] blog.
“Over the past few years, an enormous body of reef base line data has been collected by the BREAM team, and with the REEF WATCH programme, the BZS is supporting an annual community reef ‘check-up’ by volunteers, collecting the data, raising community awareness and participation, and raising funds to support ongoing research. The volunteer training, the reefs chosen, and the protocols followed have all been developed by Dr. Thad Murdoch of BREAM, to ensure the data collected will have scientific value.”
To date, fourteen teams have registered, though BZS would like to see as many as 20 boats participating. It is still not too late to register your boat and team. Information and registration forms are available on the BZS website, or by emailing email@example.com.
As lead sponsor, Hiscox has agreed to support the REEF WATCH on an annual basis, making up part of Hiscox’s wider commitment to the Bermuda environment says Hiscox Bermuda’s CEO, Jeremy Pinchin, “The reef protecting Bermuda is the northern most coral reef system in the world and it’s important we do all we can to preserve it. We’re proud to be a sponsor of this vital initiative and I’m very pleased to add that quite a few of us from the Hiscox office will be donning our masks and flippers to take part in the project.