Message in a Bottle opened this month at the American Museum of Natural History

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Message in a Bottle

We are very excited to announce that Message in a Bottle by New York based Creative Conservationist and our very own Event Coordinator here at The World federation For Coral Reef Conservation: Asher Jay Message in a Bottle, the brainchild of Asher Jay, is a conceptual, collaborative, art installation that offers individuals who hail from a variety of disciplines the opportunity to express their concerns and hopes for Planet Ocean through creative media, specifically through decoupaged, hand illustrated PET bottles. This endows marine conservation with a unique united front from which advocates as well as distressed denizens can address the long term welfare of the primordial soup that gave rise to all life on earth. It serves as a visual petition and a time capsule for the years that it documents, and amplifies the urgent blue memos expressed by proactive seafaring souls by lending a perceptible voice to their efforts, nourishing the global crusade to save the blue from further denudation and offering a singular platform for the simultaneous address of multiple issues and solution strategies.

Message in a BottlePremise: The installation is composed of post-consumer PET beverage bottles that have been decoupaged with waste paper and then illustrated with various ocean scenes that correspond to the quote given by each ‘Ocean Voice’ for their respective vessels. This way each bottle represents an individual in the real world, a tangible connection to a voice for the deep. Some of the renowned Voices this display showcases: Don Walsh, Sylvia Earle, Roger Payne, Rick Linnehan (astronaut), Chris Anderson (TED curator), Louie Psihoyos, James Costa, Richard Ellis, Chris Jordan, Shawn Heinrichs, Fabien Cousteau, George Schaller, Jean-Michel Cousteau, David De Rothschild, David Helvarg, Carl Safina, Alexandra Paul, Captain Paul Watson, Richard O’ Barry, Leilani Munter, John Quinones, Jeff Orlowski (Director of Chasing Ice), Ken Balcombe and many many more. The first 100 voices can be viewed on this online directory here.

Message in a Bottle

The next 200 voices will be uploaded by April-May in time for the respective Museum showcases. Visit the Official Website or check out the Vimeo Animation. The installation debut reception was held at Green Spaces, Tribeca on World Oceans Day 2012. It then traveled to the Dominican Republic for the DR Environmental Film Festival. It has since collaborated with the Finatics, a talented group of special needs kids from Green Chimneys, and with school children in the Caribbean, Denver, and New York City. The exhibit has also shown at the Washington Convention Center in D.C. and at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder, Co, during the Making Waves Festival in October. Several schools and universities are participating in the installation by creating satellite installations at their campuses, they also mail bottles to me so I can add their voices to my exhibit.


Bar crawl Fundraiser Jan 2013

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Wow! What a time to be alive!

So, we had a great time this weekend in Columbus, Ohio on our bar crawl through Park street watching the NFC/AFC championship games. It was a cold day, but we braved the weather to get the word out about the need for reef conservation and oil spill clean up! We sold tickets and held a raffle for half of all of the money we took in at each location, and then a second drawing for an awesome event t-shirt designed by one of our very own.

Cash Winner- Park Street Cantina

Shirt Winner - Park Street Cantina

We started at Park Street Cantina big thank you to the CGS group for opening their doors to us and their manager Ryan for all of his help. We had a lot of fun working out the kinks of our very first fund raiser. It was a mess at first communicating among us, none of us having done anything like this before. We learned a lot about dividing the bar into sections so that we made sure to get to everyone that wanted to enter. And going back to sections one of the other people had already visited in order to give patrons a second chance to enter before we held drawings. We even had a couple of people go to the ATM just so they could buy tickets! Next we visited Bar Louie, after what we learned from the first bar, we thought we were prepared to systematically engage our targets. Were we ever wrong! Bar Louie was PACKED!

Cash Winner - Bar Louie


And I mean every seat was filled and the staff was flying all over the place trying to get everyone their food and drinks! We did a good job of staying out of their way though, and this ate up a lot of our time so by the time that we sold all of the tickets we were going to sell the drawing was held later than we intended.  Again we had a great time and got to talk to a few people that were interested in some of the fun facts that we shared about why reefs are important to us.

Shirt Winner- Bar Louie

Because our schedule ran over at Bar Louie we had to make a command decision of whether to go to BBR or Endzone, two really great venues to watch the game. Both have flat screens in every direction so your girlfriend doesn’t get mad at you for turning around every five minutes while she’s in the middle of her tireless monologue about the latest Kardashian gossip.

Cash Winner - BBR

We decided to make BBR our mission because it was closer, and frankly Columbus, Ohio is cold. We ran into a little trouble because BBR was also hosting a radio station that day that was giving away Kid Rock tickets and other prizes, and our event coordinator decided to wear his 97.1 The Fan shirt that day! Thanks to that little bit of controversy, the quick wit of our event coordinator on the microphone,

Shirt Winner - BBR

and all of our friends that were at BBR waiting for us to make our final stop there, we were able to finish out this event famously and in good style. So, our apologies to 96.3fm, and thanks for sharing the microphone, it really was for a good cause. Also, thank you to all of Chapman ladies, who did a great job and looked fabulous (not only the one’s in the pictures), our event coordinator and multimedia manager who put all of this together, and to all of the bars that opened their doors to us.


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WFCRC-St. Maarten MPA Alliance

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St. Maarten N.A.

It seems that there was some discrepancy about the Mayan end of the world thing, oh well back to the real world.

My trip to St. Maarten was a very successful one. The weather was warm, rum punch was cold and the food was delightful and sailing with my one of my warmest friends Diane Smith of Random Wind Charters was so relaxing. The Random Wind Operation is one of concern for the environment and has complied with local marine protected area requirements when other operators have not. Diane runs a tight ship and uses no disposable items in its operation. This is the type of operation that should be patronized by concerned citizens. She is a real treasure to be associated with.
I spent two days discussing WFCRC’s strategic alliance with The St. Maarten Marine Park Management and howto develop our alliance. We related on a technical level as well as on an environmental level. We agreed that it is essential that an effective management strategy should be developed sooner than later. It is well known that you can’t legislate logic and to wait on governmental support is somewhat counterproductive; stakeholder involvement is an essential factor to successful conservation.
We discussed:
Pollution, Alerts and tracking oil spills, chemical releases, and clean up action plans.
The development of a plant material to be used as an absorbent agent used in booms. All of which utilizes locally grown material and personnel. As well as the possibilityof exportation of this material to other areas of concern.
The lack of coastal zone management, coral reef conservation, monitoring, identification and enforcement.
The development and change of land use, and identification of illegal construction.
Sediment transport and land based threats to sensitive marina ecosystems.
Socioeconomic challenges and the role that poverty plays with buy in and sensitizing the public with Public Service Announcements (PSA’s).
Tracking and identification of illegal signage.
Helping fire and police improve response time by tracking location and repeated calls.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) data and image gathering programs.
How WFCRC and a Geographic Information System (GIS) can deliver support for these issues.

I looked at several venues for our fund-raiser on Earth Day April 22, 2013, and found the ideal location in the mountains with great out door facilities, very creative kitchen as well  as a large open green field with a great stage. The Loterie Farm is a very unique and beautiful location and will work well for our fund raiser.
Loterie Farm is a secret hideaway nestled in the hillside of Pic Paradis on French Saint Martin where you can wine, dine, climb, hike and glide over the treetop canopy. It is truly an eco-tourism and gastronomical experience you’re not likely to forget or find elsewhere.
The sign at the entrance of Loterie Farm says “established in 1721”. We have significant records suggesting the first owner of Loterie Farm was an Englishman by the name of Richard Bailey who won the rights to establish a sugar plantation at this location in a land lottery, and thus the name. Among a good number of travel writers and gourmet magazines, Bon Appétit Magazine featured this tree-house like eatery in its February 2005 issue. The Hidden Forest Café’s setting and ambiance are as eco as the dishes are culinary using the freshest ingredients found on island,Mangoes, Bananas, Sour Sop, Coconuts, Papaya… with over 1000 species growing on there serve, the Hidden Forest Café is notorious for serving succulent dishes garnished with fruits and vegetables grown on the reserve itself. Those same natural products find their way to the Tree Lounge where tropical cocktails are concocted, namely Loterie’s signature drink Sex in the Tree, and served in a relaxing social setting.

We are currently negotiating with The Loterie Farm, celebrity chefs, and entertainment groups to make our fundraiser as enjoyable an event for all who join. Details are being developed, but we will be sure to keep you updated.


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Executive Director’s Report

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Hey folks,

So our Executive Director Vic Ferguson wanted to say a few words himself about his trip to The Clean Gulf Convention.

Vic Ferguson, Drew Stevens

Veiwing The ESRI Online capabilities


I recently had the opportunity to attend “The Clean Gulf Convention” in New Orleans. This is the world’s largest 1st response convention with attendees from around the World.

With my life time career in the geo-sciences, participating in exploration/production both upstream and downstream internationally and domestically I was somewhat apprehensive about talking to the petroleum response industry, thinking that my discussion about coral reef conservation would fall on deaf ears. I was pleased to find representatives of these corporations were not only willing to listen, but expressed an active interest in supporting our programs to help preserve our marine treasures around the world. I believe the single minded corporations of the past that focused only on the rate of return on investment for so many years, now sees a new light.

Especially since the Deep Water Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, this next generation of corporate heads sees the need to preserve the environment and minimize our negative impact on it.

In some circles corporations now see a responsibility to make an effort to support projects that do not focus solely on highly funded, high rate of return projects and what consequences might arise from their operations. But now see that the loss of Biodiversity is now included in some program developments. It is now making sense and is good Public Relations for an industry that develops a product necessary for the growth and development of civilizations.

I believe that an environmental balance needs to be achieved sooner rather than later. It is already been identified that the loss of coral reefs is now in dear need of this balance. We know that petroleum is the product that has brought this civilization to where we are now.

Our use of petroleum’s products has outpaced our ability to deal with its consequences not only locally but worldwide as well. For those of us that believe in evidence based science, we have a responsibility to share what we know about the consequences of producing and using hydrocarbons, with the rest of the world. The time to be prepared is before an incident happens. It’s more cost effective and could have very large impact in some places in the world for a very long time.

Our network concerned individuals includes corporations and individuals with a real desire to minimize the impact of hydrocarbon consumption. This includes not only our core team members but individuals with extensive experience in delivering timely GIS information that has enabled coastal constituents to plan and execute plans for response both with The Deepwater Horizon and for the recent hurricane Sandy.

I met personally with Andrew Stephens and Devon Humphrey, both Geographic Information Systems (GIS) professionals with 40 years combined GIS experience, were the primary architects of the GIS Unit and lab at Incident Command Post (ICP) Houma. Mr. Stephens has 20 years GIS experience, teaching GIS to organizations worldwide, and is an expert in GIS deployment, start-up, training and workflow design. Mr. Humphrey has 20 years background in Oil Spill GIS with Texas General Land Office, where he was on the development team of an award-winning oil spill GIS. He has also been an instructor since 1994 at the National Spill Control School at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi. The ‘Spill School’ is named in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.”

I would like to thank both Drew Stephens and Devon Humphrey for their insight and guidance in the development of a GIS to display an Operational Picture for all to understand all aspects of the disaster. I also want to specifically thank our Australian spokesperson Nina Fitzgerald in Queensland, Diane Smith of Random Wind Tours in St. Maarten, and our ever growing list of ambassadors.


So, we’re counting this event a success. We’ve made a few more contacts, and keeping our proverbial noses to the grindstone. We’re sending Vic to Saint Maarten soon make arrangements for the fundraiser we are currently planning.  Don’t forget to do your part!

Donate Today!

Clean Gulf Convention

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So, we just sent Our Executive Director down to the Clean Gulf Convention in New Orleans, LA, where Deep Horizon oil spill occurred. We are also excited to announce that we have been working with Nina Fitzgerald of the Australian Zoo, and completed just our very first PSA in hopes of raising awareness and funds for some of our great programs.

Clickhereto donate, today!

Welcome to the Anthropocene

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“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

Charles Dickens’s quote is showing itself to be prophetic. In the developed world, we have technologies that help us live longer, travel faster, and communicate across oceans at in the click of a button, and the developing world is doing everything it can to try and catch up. All of this is coming at a very dear cost to our ecosystems.
All of this is coming at a very real risk to the life on this planet; including our own! The resources needed to make these products, the energy it takes to power them, the luxury of having the time to do nothing but dream up newer and better products and technologies, and even the packaging that it all comes in is changing the our natural environment in a way that will eventually make our lives far more difficult, if we don’t act now.

We are in what some are calling the Anthropocene Epoch. It’s the first time in known history where one species is literally changing the ecosystem in a way that is not beneficial to it’s own sustainability. Mother Nature won’t let us have our cake and eat it, too. We need to start paying attention to the effects that our technologies are having on the very ecosystems that we rely on for our sustenance. Long after our cars, cities, and factories have turned to dust, the consequences of burning billions of tons’ worth of coal and oil are likely to be clearly discernible. As carbon dioxide warms the planet, it also seeps into the oceans and acidifies them. Sometime this century they may become acidified to the point that corals can no longer construct reefs, which would register in the geologic record as a “reef gap.” Reef gaps have marked each of the past five major mass extinctions.

Overfishing, ocean acidification and pollution have two features in common. First, they are accelerating. They are growing broadly in line with global economic growth, so they can double in size every couple of decades. Second, they have extreme inertia — there is no real prospect of changing their trajectories in less than 20 to 50 years. Overfishing can bring down reefs because fish are one of the key functional groups that hold reefs together. Detailed forensic studies of the global fish catch by Daniel Pauly’s lab at the University of British Columbia confirm that global fishing pressure is still accelerating even as the global fish catch is declining. Overfishing is already damaging reefs worldwide, and it is set to double and double again over the next few decades.

445 million years ago, sediments slowly piled up on the bottom of an ancient ocean. In those days life was still confined mostly to the water, and it was undergoing a crisis. Some 80 percent of marine. The extinction event, known as the end-Ordovician, was one of the five biggest of the past half billion years. It coincided with extreme changes in climate, in global sea levels, and in ocean chemistry

Ocean acidification can also bring down reefs because it affects the corals themselves. Corals can make their calcareous skeletons only within a special range of temperature and acidity of the surrounding seawater. But the oceans are acidifying as they absorb increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Research led by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland shows that corals will be pushed outside their temperature-acidity envelope in the next 20 to 30 years, absent effective international action on emissions.

We have even less of a handle on pollution. We do know that nutrients, particularly nitrogenous ones, are increasing not only in coastal waters but also in the open ocean. Fertilizer factories, for example, now fix more nitrogen from the air, converting it to a biologically usable form, than all the plants and microbes on land; the runoff from fertilized fields is triggering life-throttling blooms of algae at river mouths all over the world. This change is accelerating. And we know that coral reefs just can’t survive in nutrient-rich waters. These conditions only encourage the microbes and jellyfish that will replace coral reefs in coastal waters. We can say, though, with somewhat certainty that unstopped pollution will force reefs beyond their survival envelope by midcentury. This includes hydrocarbon spills, toxic and radioactive wastes.

We here at the World Federation for Coral Reef Conservation are setting ourselves as the model for the compiling and distribution of this public information on a publicly accessible platform; where now it only exists on the secure servers of governmental entities and private corporations. It is acknowledged by these entities that a platform like this would’ve helped recover more of the 4.9 million barrels of oil that spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. It would be beneficial to scientists and educators so we can work to better the next generation, and for first responders and volunteers wanting to take initiative in cleanup efforts should a disaster occur.

We are revving up to launch our inaugural program. Best Practices for Oil Spill Clean Up and need your help to spread the word and excite people to donate and/or ask how they can help! Not everyone lives on the coast, but we all depend on them, for food, transportation and medicines. Join or Donate Today!

Man-Made Threats to the Oceans

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Hello All,

Today I want to present to you two stunning pictures. The first picture illustrates how much we as humans waste every single day.  Now, it wouldn’t be so bad if we wasted materials, and then recycled them, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. A lot of waste gets disposed of in whatever manner is most convenient for those doing the disposing. Have you ever taken a long walk on the beach, maybe stopped to buy a taco or side of fries, and then when you’ve finished eating: not seen a garbage can or recycling bin in sight? What’s the closest method of disposal? You don’t want to carry this garbage for a whole additional half mile. Sadly, for many people, the closest answer is: the ocean. People will just get rid of their trash in the easiest way possible, and that’s how you end up with this: http://ecowatch.org/2012/marine-litter-birds/

This is of course an issue that needs to be addressed. The second picture that I’d like to share is an old of the the BP Deepwater Horizon.

Deepwater Horizon

Very moving, and not much more needs to be said except that our first response program would have really helped! Making sure that people all over the world have access to the steps that need to be taken in the event of an oil spill, either small or large, is an essential part of maintaining our world as clean as we can, or at least, mitigating the damage that we cause.

As far as WFCRC news goes, we’re still working, still trucking, and still trying to get that first big donation to come in! Our followers here and on facebook and twitter have been great with donating what they can to help fund our efforts, and we encourage everyone to check out WFCRC.org and click on the donation button. Every little bit helps!

Back from the Conference!-Follow-up Funding

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Well ladies and gents, we’re back from the ESRI Conference! Made some great contacts, made some new friends, and made some impressions on people that matter (we hope!). You can see us in the picture with our oh so fashionable matching shirts, available in the gift shop, if ever you’re so inclined to show your love for the WFCRC.

So we had a good time, at some delicious San Diego fried fish and chips, and generally acted like tourists. One great thing was the ESRI afterparty at Balboa Park. Not only did we get complimentary snacks and desserts (including fresh-made cotton candy), all attendees got access to Balboa Park’s Museums, including the Museum of Natural History and the Art Museum. We had a blast! A two headed kingsnake, water strider larvae, and a giant scarab statue were also among the attendees.

One of the organizations that we met was the Census of Marine Life. They have a comprehensive website of many different species. Our favourite section of their site is the video gallery http://www.coml.org/video-gallery , which is chock full of interesting and informative videos.

In other news, the WFCRC is moving on with our next funding phase! If you know of any asset-heavy individual or organization that would like to contribute to our cause, or would even like to solicit a presentation to learn more about our cause, please let us know!

San Diego Trip-Coral Reef Sperm Bank

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Kati Chapman, (Marketing/Comm) here. I’m sitting in the airport with my colleague Eric Pfeifle (Media/Web Design) waiting on our flight to San Diego, California! We’re headed to the ESRI conference to check out their awesome GIS programs and to meet and greet interesting people. Hopefully we’ll make a stellar presentation to chief ESRI scientist Dawn Wright and make some like-minded conservation comrades that way.   We’ve got our business cards, our “Best Practices for Oil Spill Cleanup” CDs, our WFCRC shirts (check them out in the gift shop), and a good talk game. We’ve got great ideas to back our talk game up, though: who else do you know that adds a specific location component to unique pieces of coral, and comes back and checks on the same coral pieces/sections of reefs/reefs pretty much every time someone dives in that area? And then shares the information on a GIS dashboard for scientists and citizen researchers all over the world to use and share? Notwithstanding our Best Practices, which provides a way for people all over the world to find out what’s the best way to combat an oil spill in their area.

Speaking of great ideas, that brings to mind the great idea and effort of one particular scientist, Dr. Mary Hagedorn. She’s collecting coral sperm in an attempt to save and preserve the coral species that are being decimated throughout the world (http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/science-scope/a-sperm-bank-to-restore-the-worlds-corals/13138). Over a trillion samples have been saved, and this great idea has the potential to help with local economies, save species -not just coral, but the life that thrives around it as well- and provide research potential into pharmaceuticals, which is an important issue for the WFCRC. Coral reefs hold the potential for cures to Alzheimer’s and types of cancer, -some types of coral are even being used in drug Ara-C, which is used in chemotherapy. These potentialities should be explored fully, and Dr. Hagdorn’s work takes a huge step in the right direction.

Boarding time! Until next week-