A startup nonprofit firm, out of Key Largo, Florida, has come up with a unique way of bringing awareness to Ecological Diving, Mammal Rescue/Release, conscious recycling and waste management efforts within local diving communities. How??? They’re partying on the beach for it!
The Mother Ocean Fund (MOF) www.motheroceanfund.org is a community of scuba divers, who have come together to help Mother Ocean get, stay, clean and healthy. They do this by organizing ecological friendly music festivals and farmers markets, at a local beach, while conducting varied “Ecological-Dives” at sea. Together they are growing to be a powerful force in environmental stewardship among all ages through advocacy, ecological scuba diving excursions, education and conservation awareness the world over. They call these festivals. “EcoPalooza! ™
For most of us, who are used to diving deep wrecks, kelp forests, natural and/or artificial reefs, lobster hunting and other recreational diving; MOF wants to introduce us to a whole new facet to the sport wave all grown to love, with these Ecological dives. Normally, these types of Eco Dives were mostly used by the academic and scientific communities to help further research for varied studies. But this group, they want to make it mainstream and show the diving community the other types of dives they can partake it. They call it, Diving for a purpose.
These “Purposeful” Ecological dives are orchestrated to tackle a specific environmental need that our beautiful aquatic playground longs for, starting with Coral Reef Restoration. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades, you’re aware that Coral reefs provide coastal protection for communities, a habitat for fish, and millions of dollars in recreation and tourism, among other benefits. But corals are also severely threatened by rapidly worsening environmental conditions. Due to the rapid decline in Coral Reefs overall health, several both scientific, as well as, academic organizations specializing in marine biology and ocean conservation, have devised a way to replant lab grown pieces of coral, back onto a reef a nurture that small fragment of a coral back to adulthood, restoring the reefs natural habitat.
Another “Eco Dive” MOF promotes through their festivals are reef/pier clean-up which too have grown in popularity through the years, when shops promote a dive like this yearly. From plastic bottles, car tires, fishing lines, metal grates, bicycles parts to even stop signs, it all needs to go and MOF is looking to increase those clean up events to at least once a quarter to start but aspire to have it monthly at a local coastline, near you soon.
Now, we can’t begin to speak to Ecological efforts at sea without mention the decades long research conducted in studying one of our largest predators, the almighty, highly misunderstood but beautiful SHARK!!!! These apex predators have been a topic of major interest, research, and tracking for generations. Recognizing this too, MOF has added Shark Tagging to their list of Eco dives, in which divers too can stand shoulder to shoulder with marine biologists, graduate students and professors in helping catching, tag and release these amazing creatures!
In MOF’s true spirit, of helping Mother Ocean get, stay, clean and healthy they intend to get as many divers in the water as possible to help truly make an impact in all these great causes efforts. While celebrating those efforts on land, with their Musical Festivals and Farmers Markets at a local beach. The Mother Ocean Fund plans to fund these events by fundraising. Funds collected will not only go to organizing these festivals, but to paying for some if not all of the diver’s fees from these charters. (depending on how much they receive from donors). In that spirt, they are conducting their first fundraising effort online with a 50/50 Raffle on New Year’s Eve in which a lucky winner will walk away with $25,000 cash, if MOF’s target of $50,000 is meet. If not, the winner still walks away with ½ of the proceeds collected, regardless.
At the end of the day, its all about protecting our precious watery playground and this Aquatic Tribe here, has found a way to help clean up Mother Ocean reefs/piers/beaches, bring the coral reefs back to health, rescue entangled sea mammals, bring down the over growth of the horrendous Lion Fish population, further research efforts and much, much more… While grooving on a beach, with a beer in one hand and a taco in the other!!!! So, ask yourselves.. “What have you done, for Mother Ocean today?”
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