Science Saturday: I.CARE Islamorada Conservation and Restoration Education

Hi, I.CARE! Welcome to our Reef Community here on Reefbites.

I.CARE is dedicated to restoring the reefs of Islamorada, Florida. Their mission is to incorporate local businesses, residents and visitors in the restoration and maintenance of their coral reef communities. Read more to learn about this awesome organization!

City and Country of the Organization/Research Institute/Foundation

Islamorada, United States of America

In what year was the Organization/Research Institute/Foundation was established? 


What services do you provide the community?

We have created the first community based approach to reef restoration in the middle Florida Keys. We are partnered with local dive shops to train their customers to participate in coral transplanting, marine debris clean-ups and reef monitoring. We are a community effort: the work is being done by the diving community to support the Islamorada community and to help restore the coral reef community.

What research projects/conservation efforts/citizen science do you have going on at the moment?

Recreational divers learn about coral restoration and the factors that can increased their survival. They transplant corals onto the reef and help maintain previously transplanted corals (removal coral eating snails and competitive algae). We hope to involve repeat customers in additional reef surveys (looking for coral disease, mobile invertebrates, etc.)

Do you have volunteer opportunities? 

As of now, we do not have a volunteer program established. However, any certified diver can book a trip with a participating dive shop.

Do you have internships/fellowships opportunities? 

Yes. We have four paid internships where interns are provided with a small monthly stipend and housing in the middle Keys. Each internship is one year long and the interns gain skills in educational outreach, coral reef community data collection and analysis, and coral husbandry.


Do you have facilities for scientists to stay? 

We do not have a facility to house scientists. However, we partner with the Keys Marine Laboratory and they can provide housing for scientists and educational groups.

What advice or tips would you give people who want to help conserve/protect reefs but do not have access to volunteering? Any actions they can do from home?

Anything you do can make a difference, no matter how far you are from the ocean. Recycle correctly, reduce your single use plastic consumption, take reusable grocery bags to the store and stop using plastic grocery bags (including produce bags), donate to groups that are engaged with ocean conservation.





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