If you really want to make a difference in the world, forget about adopting a highway. Adopt a coral reef. Much of the ocean life we enjoy so much while diving, snorkeling and swimming rely on the coral reef for survival. In fact, as much as 25 percent of marine life may depend on the coral reefs. And the rest of life in the ocean probably depends on that 25 percent of marine life. Remember, the ecosystem maintains a very delicate balance and should not be artificially disturbed.
How does adopting a coral reef work?
Well, the adoption process is not like adopting a dog or a cat, for sure. You don’t get to take the reef home with you… that certainly wouldn’t help anything. But your donation will go towards preserving the coral reefs. Depending on the organization, your donation my help their overall efforts or with conservation of a very specific section of the coral reef. You may also adopt pieces of reef that are grown in nurseries.
Here are a few organizations that allow you to adopt:
Coral Guardian creates and cultivates artificial reefs that you can adopt. You can even name your adopted coral. Then, Coral Guardian will plant it for you, and you will receive a certificate with its photo and GPS location, so you can go visit your coral any time you’d like!
Reef Check focuses its efforts on the reefs of California. Sponsoring local reefs will help raise awareness, fund studies and engage the community about California’s ocean vitality, health and beauty. If you live or dive in California and are looking to help the local community, this may be the charity for you.
The Coral Restoration Foundation is much like Reef Check, but for the Florida Keys reefs. Many of us on the East Coast enjoy diving the keys often. The marine life here is extremely diverse, and of course, reliant on the coral reefs for survival. They have estimated that it costs about $100 to grow, maintain and monitor just a single fragment of coral.
These are just three examples, but there are many more. Research to find one that works for you, and don’t be afraid to call and ask questions. We’d like to think that all rescue and conservation organizations are ethical, but it’s always a good idea to do your homework before donating anything.