Scouts at the Sea Base work to rescue Florida’s coral reefs

Warren Vronay could’ve been at home last summer playing computer games. But he’s a Scout, and Scouts change the world — in their communities, in their countries and even underwater.

“I keep joking to my friends that I’m saving the world,” the Star Scout from Troop 805 in Danville, Calif., says. “But, you know, that’s not entirely false.”

Warren and other Scouts at the Sea Base have been working on a massive conservation effort in restoring the third largest barrier reef system in the world.

In the March issue of Scout Life, you can read about how Scouts are making a difference for this vulnerable underwater environment. Read the online story here.

Rescuing the reef

In 2019, the Sea Base built a nursery with multiple tanks to house several coral species, including endangered species. Corals are marine animals related to jellyfish and sea anemones. They live in large groups, creating hardened protective structures called reefs.

Since 1980, about 90% of the coral reefs in the Florida Keys have died from warming temperatures, ocean acidification and diseases. Partnering with area conservation groups, the Sea Base staff started a restoration process called micro-fragmentation. When coral polyps are cut into pieces, it stimulates their growth — more than 25 times faster than their natural rate.

Using this method, coral reefs can be restored faster. In Sea Base’s Marine STEM and Scuba Advanced Marine Exploration adventures, Scouts have already begun helping in the process. In the Marine STEM adventure, Scouts take part in the micro-fragmentation process for stony coral or large bouldering coral. In the Scuba Advanced Marine Exploration, which partners with a coral restoration institution by using its underwater nursery and coral, Scouts work on fragmenting branching coral and then planting the fragments upon an assigned reef.

With the Scouts’ efforts, these corals will hopefully survive and thrive for hundreds of years. Discover how your unit can plan an adventure at Sea Base here.

More than 120 CBS News affiliates around the country have now shared the story of Scouts at the Sea Base and their efforts to help rescue and restore Florida’s coral reefs. You can watch the CBS Miami news broadcast of the story below.

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About Michael Freeman 445 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.