Recently I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Ken Nedimyer, a former coral wholesaler and online retailer who is now President of the Coral Restoration Foundation- an organization dedicated to the repopulation of the reefs in the Florida Keys. A task that sounds formidable, if not impossible. Over the several hours that I had the opportunity to talk with Ken, I came to realize that not only was this goal doable but that he had solved a myriad of problems related to population genetics of corals and was firmly on his way to establishing his goal. When we parted I was deeply impressed by his enthusiasm, vision and progress towards this goal. My purpose in penning this blog article is to bring the work of the CRF to your attention and share with you an positive story from an otherwise maligned hobby.
So what are the facts of the story.
1. Over the last few years environmental issues have led to the demise of over 90% of the native corals in the Florida keys.
2.Remaining populations are isolated and extremely fragile due to an inability to sexually reproduce.
3. CRF has propagated various genetic lineages and is able to “reseed” dead reefs with sufficient genetic variety to ensure sexual reproduction.
4. So far the restored reefs are thriving.
So those are the story highlights. I invite you to listen along as Ken describes his journey from retailer to reef restoration. I am sure you will find, as I did, his story to be very inspirational.
I also invite to check out the website for the CRF at WWW.coralsrestoration.org where you can learn about volunteering and becoming part of this effort, as well as how to adopt a coral and more on the great work being done by the CRF.