Exploring the Depths: A Journey with the Colorado Coralition

In a world grappling with the decline of coral reefs, the Colorado Coralition, comprising students from Polaris Expeditionary Learning School in Fort Collins, Colorado, is taking proactive steps. Their recent March trip to the Florida Keys was more than just an adventure—it was an Adventure with Purpose. The kids engaged in a hands-on effort to address coral reef depletion and grasp the significance of conservation firsthand. 

Under the guidance of Dr. Matt Strand, their enthusiastic teacher, sixteen students aged 7th to 10th grade embarked on a unique expedition. Their mission: to explore ocean depths, understand coral ecosystems, and contribute to the Coral Restoration Foundation's crucial work. 

This trip held profound purpose. With coral reefs facing unprecedented challenges due to rising temperatures and frequent heat events, urgency was palpable. Florida's reefs have lost over 90% of branching corals over the past 30 years. Due to the record-breaking temperatures in 2023, only 22% of out planted staghorn (branching) corals in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary survived, necessitating immediate preservation efforts. 

Upon arrival in Key Largo, the students wasted no time in immersing themselves in their mission. With Junior Open Water diver certifications, they explored Carsyfort Reef, a NOAA-designated site for coral reef restoration. 

A highlight was the students' involvement in photogrammetry, using innovative technology to capture reef footage for scientific analysis. Tasks varied from tending to the coral nursery to assisting with maintenance, providing valuable insights into coral restoration and conservation. 

Amidst their conservation work, students marveled at underwater wonders, encountering rays, squid, and diverse fish species during six dives. 

The trip was, in part, made possible by Tellus's Giveback100 pledge, which donates 100% of net profits to environmental organizations. Tellus's support helped to facilitate a charter boat for transporting students to dive sites.   

As students returned home, their journey with the Colorado Coralition continued. Armed with knowledge and purpose, they are determined to combat coral decline. 

This trip wasn't just an educational excursion; it showcased the power of youth in effecting change. By embracing the spirit of Adventure with Purpose, they are paving the way for a brighter, more sustainable future for coral reefs and the ecosystems they support. 

Exploring the Depths: A Journey with the Colorado Coralition