Being kind to the coral

Coral reefs are often called the rainforests of the sea. Home to more than a quarter of all marine species, they are some of the most biodiverse and productive ecosystems on the planet. They’re also an important source of food, coastal protection and employment to millions of people all around the world.

In the Dominican Republic, 80% of the island’s 10 million inhabitants live on the coast and rely on the reef for their livelihood. But this important marine ecosystem is under threat. As well as the damaging impact of climate change, activities like intensive scuba diving, snorkelling and sailing are impacting the coral and its delicate ecosystem.

Being kind to the coral aims to support environmental training and inspire ageneration of Youth Ambassadors for coral reef conservation

Forming part of the TUI Junior Academy programme, the project works with key members of the community to help educate young Dominicans in reef conservation.

In a unique grassroots approach, it brings together education leaders, marine resource managers and representatives from the reef-based tourism industry to deliver tailored marine education programmes to local Youth Ambassadors. By improving their awareness of environmental issues, the programmes are designed to inspire the younger generation to champion coral reef conservation activities within their own communities. To maximise its legacy, the project will work with local teachers and the Ministry of Education to strengthen the marine environmental content in the national curriculum.

Working in partnership with The Reef World Foundation and with the support of Reef Check Dominican Republic and the Ministry of the Environment, the project will deliver tailor made training to over 300 people in local reef-based businesses. As part of a multi-faceted approach to protecting coral reefs, it will also introduce environmentally friendly guidelines to promote sustainable diving and snorkelling. This will help to reduce local deterioration of the coral reef and build its long-term resilience.

Along with helping the local community protect their natural environment and marine based livelihoods, the project also aims to reach visitors to the island through its awareness campaign on coral protection and sustainable tourism.

PROJECT PARTNER

Our partner delivering this project in the Dominican Republic is The Reef-World Foundation with the support of Reef Check Dominican Republic. Reef-World leads the global implementation of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative, which focuses globally on driving environmentally friendly scuba diving and snorkelling practices across the industry. In the Dominican Republic, Green Fins is implemented through a network approach led by Reef Check Dominican Republic in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Auxiliary Navy, Coastal Biodiversity and Tourism project involving both the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Tourism and local community and conservation group CEBSE.

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