GREEN REEF: Activities for The International Year of the Reef

News Release - To publicize the need to learn more about reefs and how to preserve them, 1997 has been declared the International Year of The Reef (IYOR). Green Reef (A San Pedro based environmental non-governmental organization) will celebrate the IYOR throughout the entire year by planning a series of fund raising events, membership drive and various activities. Coral Reef Awareness - Green Reef is planning to launch a public awareness and educational campaign for the island of Ambergris Caye on coral reef issues. The educational programme on coral reefs will be implemented for local schools in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and it is hoped that it will help to establish a permanent educational programme for the island. The public awareness will highlight the value of reefs and the threats they face will be featured in articles in The San Pedro Sun, posters at dive shops and hotels, leaflets, t-shirts and local TV.

Reef Festival - The festival is planned for Sunday, April 20 to coincide with Earth Day. The Reef Festival will focus on coral reefs in order to promote the International Year of the Reef. Anyone interested in organizing the festival can contact Gach Guerrero or Catherine Paz. More details will be printed in the next issue of the Sun.

Reef Check - Green Reef will participate in the Reef Check 1997, an official IYOR activity. Reef Check 1997 is an international effort to collect data on reefs around the world. Reef Check surveys will be made between 14 June and 31 August, 1997. They will involve one-day rapid surveys of as many reef sites as possible throughout the world using very basic techniques such as counting indicator species, e.g. grouper, sea urchins, measuring coral cover ratio live/dead etc. The work will be done in one day at each site by combined teams of recreational divers with a knowledge of marine biology and at least one professional marine scientist per team who will be responsible for ensuring the scientific quality of the work. This will enable us to have an idea of the basic health of reef sites around the world. The goal will be to disseminate the information gained from this snapshot by having a live video satellite link among a number of representative sites throughout the world. In this way, we hope to focus the attention of the public, politicians and government leaders on the status of the world's coral reefs.

Reef Mooring Buoy Program - Amigos del Mar maintains 36 reef mooring buoys off the reef at Ambergris Caye from Hol Chan to Mexico Rocks. The buoys were placed in order to eliminate anchor damage to the reef. Green Reef will assist Amigos del Mar to seek funding for the purchase and installation of additional mooring buoys.

Marine Debris Project - Green Reef is planning a clean-up to heighten the awareness of the effect of marine debris on the environment. It is hoped that volunteers in Ambergris Caye will comb beaches, reefs, and out islands in an effort to promote a healthier marine environment.

San Pedro Sun

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