Category Archives: Hawaii

Volunteers and Coral Bleaching

P1000689

(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

On the radio this morning, there was a discussion about the massive coral bleaching event currently taking place around the world. Coral bleaching is caused when environmental conditions, such as water temperature and acidity, cause coral reefs to become stressed. The stress causes the coral to release a symbiotic algae which is what gives them their color and provides nutrients, a loss which causes the coral to become weakened.  If this leads to major coral reef deaths, it can and will seriously impact the ecosystem of our oceans and the other species who live in and among the coral reefs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains it here and there are news stories from the BBC and Washington Post detailing the worldwide coral crisis. How does this relate to environmental volunteers, you ask? It’s volunteers who are now working to monitor coral reefs in their area, watching carefully for bleaching among their local reefs. This story out of Hawaii discusses a volunteer event aimed at training people to monitor coral reefs and report to the Eyes of The Reef Network. Here’s another story and one more about the event, which is being called Bleachapalooza. Very similar events will likely be needed around the world as coral bleaching continues and worsens.

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A Whale of a Volunteer Effort

ID-100295257(Photo by rhamm, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

by Robert Barossi

Here in New England, there’s another major winter storm bearing down on us. This one is expected to dump another foot of snow, perhaps more, on top of the snow that fell earlier this week. With the falling snow and the beautiful, chilly winter wonderland all around us, it’s another good day to post a story out of somewhere tropical. This one comes from Hawaii, where volunteers are playing a major role in counting humpback whales and recording their behavior. According to the story, the program “allows the public to learn more about humpback whale population, distribution and behavioral trends.” The data they collect can be used by local and national organizations and is integral to monitoring and studying the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.This important program has been going on since 1996 and now includes some 2,000 volunteers who monitor the whales at more than sixty locations.

If you have enjoyed any of the stories on my blog, check out my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day.

Amazon

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BeingFinal