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Care for Coral Week 2021

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

By: Isabela Rios

The Coralisma Club members posing as their favorite coral. Photo Credit: Jonathan Sakai (Media Head '21)

The Coralisma Club is a crew of Eckerd College students who are passionate about coral restoration. The Club offers education on how to protect coral reefs outside the traditional classroom setting. Our crew members are activists that want to fight the rapid degradation of coral reefs due to anthropogenic factors.

Care for Coral, a week of events dedicated to spreading awareness about the global coral crisis across disciplines!

"Coral week was super cool and definitely should be a yearly thing!"- Abbie Strater

Tommy Krumrine (Media Team) wearing Coralisma's "Crew" shirt. Photo Credit: Jonathan Sakai (Media Head '21)

The Club met every two weeks during the 2021 spring semester to prepare for Care for Coral Week. The event took place from April 5th-9th; a week dedicated to spreading awareness about the coral crisis across disciplines and learning how to better our efforts as a community. The Coralisma Club is organized into four teams: Science, Leadership, Media, and Fundraising, all of which are composed of students from various disciplines. All four teams worked together to create events that engaged the Eckerd community and promoted education and awareness.

Chasing Corals Viewing

Chasing Coral documentary watching. Photo Credit: Bryan Perelka (Media Head '22)

On Monday 5th, the Club hosted a Chasing Coral documentary viewing on Hough Quad. Chasing Corals is a must-watch documentary that follows the massive, unprecedented coral bleaching events occurring worldwide. For the first time, the deathly impacts of coral bleaching were documented on camera. The Netflix original was released in 2017 and since then, it has created massive international awareness around the coral reef crisis. The Coralisma Club offered free popcorn during the viewing and a raffle of Coralisma merchandise at the end of the event. The viewing followed strict COVID-19 protocols.

"I enjoyed having the movie night, very inspirational and I learned a lot."- Josie

Virtual Coral Expert Panel (CPS)

On Tuesday the 6th, the Club organized the Coral Expert Panel event via zoom as part of Eckerd's College Program Series (CPS). Doctor Cory Krediet, Coralisma Co-Founder Marina Garmendia, and Expert Caroline McLaughlin joined the Eckerd community over zoom to present their research within the coral field and respond to students' questions. This event had a turnout of more than 100 people, so popular that we found ourselves "breaking zoom".

Coral Expert pannel in Zoom.Photo Credit:Isabela Rios(President'21)
"I liked our CPS event, I think that got a lot of students interested! Even the ones that were just there for credit, I think it sparked interest!"- Kattey Pass

Coralisma Recruiting Meeting

Mary Rollins (Science Team), and the Coralisma Club members under Glabraith. Photo Credit: Bryan Perelka (Media Head '22)

On Wednesday 7th, the Club held a meeting under Galbraith, where the achievements of the semester were showcased. This event resembled most bi-monthly club meetings, but uniquely, this meeting was dedicated to recruiting and educating new members. The Heads of each team (Science, Fundraising, Leadership, and Media) selected one team member to present alongside them. Together they talked about their goals and accomplishments for Coral Week. The Crew demonstrated hard work and passion for the education of the Eckerd community. To thank the members and create a sense of community within the Club, Coralisma gifted 45 t-shirts with the word "Crew" on their backs.

Hana Koipillai (Leadership Team) receiving her Coralisma Crew member shirt.  Photo Credit: Bryan Perelka (Media Head '22)

Color the Coral

Final product of the Care for Coral mural. Photo Credit: Isabela Rios (President '21)

On Thursday (April 8th) of Care for Coral Week, the Coralisma Club branched out and included all Eckerd College students! The Color the Coral Awareness event was held at the Nu Mural Board where students painted stencils onto a blue background to compose a reef to be displayed for the Eckerd community.

"I liked painting corals on the mural! I feel like this was definitely a way to get to know more people in the club."- Alexis Vargas

Coralisma members stenciling corals onto the Nu mural. Photo Credit: Kyle Wilson (Fundraising Head '21) 

"The painting of the mural was fun and I enjoyed it!"- Lily Haggerty

Main artist and designer of the mural Andrew Blaurock (Media Team). Photo Credit: Jonathan Sakai (Media Head '21)

Beat the Bleach

Courtney Cryan (President '22) and Hana Koilpillai (Leadership Team) in front of the Beach the Bleach banner. Photo Credit: Bryan Perelka (Media Head '22)

On Friday the 9th, the Club held the Beat the Bleach event, an interactive reef restoration simulation on Kappa Field. Beat the Bleach intended to reach beyond students who are typically educated about reefs. The Club hosted this event in Eckerd's most popular location to relax on a Friday to beat coral reefs out of sight and out of mind tendency. The site and timing helped reach beyond our typical audience. Three stations were set up for the event: an educational booth, a fundraising fair, and a reef restoration simulation.

"I enjoyed the informational coral restoration activity on Kappa the most"- Coral

Eckerd College students participating in the coral restoration simulation by placing a piece of coral onto the tree! Photo Credit: Bryan Perelka (Media Head '22)

The reef restoration simulation was a hands-on exercise that aided in explaining the complicated process of coral gardening. The Fundraising Team members prepared materials to simulate a coral tree nursery and a reef restoration event. A small replica of a coral tree was made out of wooden dowels, and pipe cleaner corals were used to imitate coral fragments. After students placed the coral on the tree, they would move on to the restoration table. More pipe cleaners were available to simulate a coral out-plant. Using homemade clay as a dupe for marine epoxy, students pasted the corals onto rocks.

Isabela Rios (President '21) teaching Eckerd College students how to paste corals back onto the reef. Photo Credit: Jonathan Sakai (Media Head '21)

The Science team hosted the educational booth and contained information on three separate topics: The Coral Crisis, Our Corals, and Coralisma's achievements.

Peyton Ganger (Science Head '21), Lauren Lowe (Leadership Head '21), and Marry Rollins (Science Team) at the educational booth. Photo Credit: Jonathan Sakai (Media Head '21)

In the third section of the event, a fundraising fair was held. The event comprised of Coralisma's merchandise, Andrew Blaurock's art (40% donation), and Wild J Co. jewelry (20%donation). Fundraising team members, such as Geo Dauzvardis and Josie Hook, specially customized coral earrings for the event. All proceeds are donated to Coralisma in the efforts to restore the Mexican reefs.

Andrew Blaurock (Media Team) participating in the fundraising fair by selling plant cuttings. Photo Credit: Jonathan Sakai (Media Head '21)

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