13 December 2020, Coral Point, San Fernando City, La Union. FEED, together with FEED ambassador and resident marine biologist Laura Riavitz, and FEED partner Jongky Surf School (JSS), including Rich Hunt (who knows Paul) and his girlfriend Maricris Silvestre (PADI certified divers) went on a coral planting mission to offset the carbon footprint of one of the Most Travelled People in the world, Mr. Paul Hurwood.
Here’s what Rich says about Paul, how and why he got involved with environmental conservation around the world:
“Paul Hurwood is one of the worlds Most Travelled People. Ranked 12th on the worlds most travelled people website (see https://mtp.travel/users/1179). From the early age of 10, having attended school on board the SS (school ship) Uganda, through later service in the Navy, Paul discovered that the ultimate adventure for him, was to travel. After many years of criss crossing around the globe Paul spent time reflecting on his carbon footprint, and decided to reduce his whole family’s to zero through investing into environmental programs such as the Bruce trail conservancy in Canada. Through a conversation with his good friend Richard Hunt ( based in the Philippines), Paul inquired about Ocean regeneration efforts, and here an introduction to the coral propagation program hosted by FEED was born. World travelers connected through friendship across the miles, giving back to local communities to aid a better environmental future.” Paul donated an amazing amount of 1000 USD to not only plant corals but also help the community by providing an important and professionally paid job, carried out by JSS certified surf instructors, who had been trained twice by Ocean Quest Global and Sea Shepherd Dive in coral propagation.
Richard who is a teacher at the British School in Manila (also a FEED reforestation patron), did the coral propagation course recently together with his girlfriend Maricris Silvestre and connected us all together. Everyone joining that date underwent the course in coral propagation and hence was hired to help rescue broken coral fragments and attach them back on hard substrate for them to be able to regrow thus rehabilitating the local coral reef.
The coral planting team comprised: Junior Ventura, Rhoda Mae delos Santos Ventura, Rodolfo Magsanoc, Raymar Asperas, Pancit, Bok and Cielo, with support from FEED’s
Diana Jane Penales and Anne- Marie Bakker (all OQC certified and JSS surf instructors), and their second coral propagation experience, PADI certified divers Maricris Silvestre and Richard Hunt – all supervised by Ocean Quest Global’s Laura Riavitz.
As equipment was on hand we made our way early morning to Coral Point. Coral Point is located in San Fernando City, La Union and is adjacent to the Kasay Marine Sanctuary which is a 30 hectare marine protected area, where in the core zone fishing and any other illegal activities are not allowed. Access his full profile here from the Most Travelled People’s website: https://mtp.travel/users/1179, Bio – “read more” section.
The plan is to plant a 100 corals in total and deploy them in a shallow nursery close to the coral reef with easy access for maintenance. The method used is based on an entirely organic approach without introducing any artificial, such as pvc or steel pipes or to the marine environment. This is a better approach because, if corals don’t grow, no harmful material is left behind. This technique is very simple to apply and cost effective and can be learned by almost everyone interested in coral reefs or the ocean in general.
Every location is different, hence, wherever we plant corals, we have different preparations and set ups. Here in La Union, Philippines, we often have to battle with big waves so we have to be very careful with the dates of planting and watch the wave forecast carefully. Also the location of the nursery site needs to be chosen wisely and has to offer protection from incoming waves.
Said Laura Riavitz: “After we snorkelled and checked for a suitable location we looked for substrate and coral fragments. The substrates are natural broken pieces of coral skeleton lying around on the seafloor and are the base for the coral to grow on. Live coral fragments are sampled as well but never from healthy colonies; usually they are small broken coral pieces laying around due to natural or human impact. After gathering all we needed underwater, with baskets and small bags, we returned to the shore for the actual planting process. Everything was done in shallow water. We grabbed substrate, applied superglue, attached the coral fragment and added a few drops of the patented organic catalyst of Ocean Quest Global to harden the superglue. On this said morning we were able to plant 30 corals and put them all out into the nursery. The planting process itself is very fast and easy but bringing the planted corals into the nursery is the long lasting process and always takes its toll. Everyone can only bring one coral transplant at the time to the nursery to not jeopardize loosening it. A nursery is completely natural and is set up directly in the sea between 3 to 6m depth. At Coral Point we were choosing a nursery site within the actual reef. As the substrate is organic, no cleaning is required because the nursery is self-sustaining through the marine species it attracts. Once a week, we should visit the nursery to check on the coral growth and look for eventual threats. It takes about two weeks for the superglue and catalyst to completely dissolve, giving the coral enough time to attach themselves on the substrate and keep on growing. After three months, you can see the attachment of the coral and witness growth. After six month, depending on the species, corals have significantly increased in size.”
The generous donation of Sir Paul will give us a total of 100 corals to plant. So far we were able to plant 30 corals, making 70 corals still to be left for planting. Unfortunately till this day waves were constantly big and we were not able to continue coral propagation nor checking on the already existing nursery. Once the sea is calm again we will all gather together and continue to plant not only for Paul but also for our future. This planet is our home and together we are taking care of it!
In 2015, the Philippine government submitted to the United Nations the country’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The carbon dioxide reductions will come from the sectors of energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry.
Join us! Help us reverse the Earth’s “hothouse climate” tipping point.
Planting Session with FEED
Contact us at FEED for more details, to join our regular activities or to design your own tree-nurturing event: firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text +63 (0)917 552 4722.
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