The Awareness and Appreciation Focus Area was formed to address coral reef degradation that can be attributed to a lack of knowledge or understanding by the general public. Lack of awareness and appreciation is a significant source of the continued degradation of this ecosystem and is recognized by the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force as a threat to reefs. Impacts from activities conducted by users unaware of the presence and vulnerability of the reef could be reduced through a combination of strategies to increase awareness and refine some use practices. The aim of the projects in the local action strategy for this focus area is to encourage positive behaviors and decisions among residents and visitors that benefit coral reefs in southeast Florida.
Goals and Objectives
One of the key objectives of the Awareness and Appreciation Focus Area is to educate residents and visitors about our diverse near-shore coral resources, the benefits of these resources, current threats, and conservation actions individuals can take to protect our coral reefs and marine environment.
Focus Area Participation
The Awareness and Appreciation objective has involved numerous member organizations past and present, which include and have included:
Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves
Broward County Audubon
The Cline Group
Cry of the Water
Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Southeast District Office
Florida Flora and Fauna Inc.
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary - Federal Navigator
Florida Sea Grant
Martin County Department of Environmental Planning
National Coral Reef Institute
NOVA High School
The Seriff Group
South Broward Marine Magnet School
Tropical Audubon Society - NGO Navigator
This focus area has worked to implement more than 38 projects since 2004. These projects include the creation of outreach materials such as brochures, exhibits, hotel tent cards and this webpage; teacher trainings; public service announcements; and posting coral reef signage at public boat ramps in the four SEFCRI counties. Efforts have also resulted in a Needs Assessment Study to better understand coral reef knowledge, attitudes and practices of residents, visitors and stakeholder groups in the SEFCRI region.
Better coordinated and targeted coral reef ecosystem outreach and education effort in southeast Florida
Increased positive behaviors and decisions that benefit coral reefs
A well-educated media that will communicate important reef conservation messages
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.