Inspiring Haitians to conserve corals

In April of 2013 I will be traveling to one of the most ecologically impoverished and biologically threatened places on the planet: Haiti. Dr. Ted T. Cable and I were awarded a $3000 grant which supports conservation-oriented research so that we might inspire Haitian youth to conserve coral reefs through interpretation. The project budget is $4699.00. I am seeking donations so that I might be able to fund the overage of $1699.00. I am donating my time and skills, but the project requires extensive air and ground travel, as well as equipment.


Coral reefs play a critical role as oceanic benefactors. Haiti's reefs are among the most threatened reefs in the world. Artisanal fishermen, desperate to feed their families, are lowering fish abundance and productivity through unregulated harvesting. Lack of governmental concern and community awareness has given Haiti the unfortunate distinction of being the only nation in the Caribbean Sea without a Marine Protected Area.

The loss of coral reefs is not just a biodiversity crisis; it is also an issue of social justice. One billion people, one-seventh of the world population, rely on seafood for their primary source of protein. While healthy reefs provide 35,000 metric tons of fish per square kilometer, Haiti's reefs yield one tenth of that amount, which complicates the task of feeding 10 million people. Haiti's unprotected reefs cannot supply at the current rate in which is demanded. Fundamental to this problem is a lack of awareness in coral reef ecology and connection to the nearby coral reefs. 

This project will provide hundreds of Haitian youths who attend a coastal summer camp, with their first glimpse of coral reefs. By training camp leadership to safely guide these youths on reef explorations, many of whom belong to fishing families, they will experience the fragile world below. As an experienced Interpreter and certified Dive Master, trained in the art of scientific inquiry and reef monitoring, I am uniquely suited to this task. The expertise of world-renowned interpretive expert, Dr. Ted Cable, will ensure the project's success.

Many Haitians have never visited this cultural legacy, but this is the critical first step in creating a path toward sustainability. Haiti has been called "Hell on Earth", but this need not be. Beautiful and restored reef communities can go a long way toward moving Haitians on the continuum toward "Heaven on Earth". My heart and soul will be committed to this vision until I make it a reality.


Thank you for considering a donation to fund the remaining budget for this project. 

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Jess Peace Reese 
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