On Maui, we enabled 10-year-old Abby Rogers to grow 900 native plants in her backyard to help us prevent sediment from entering the ocean and smothering coral reefs.
When COVID-19 hit, 10-year-old Abby Rogers was looking for a way to help protect the environment. As a newly certified SCUBA diver, the Maui resident could now see the beautiful underwater world first hand, and her passion for the underwater world was growing.
That’s when her mom heard about CORAL’s new volunteer opportunity: growing native plants from home to help protect coral reefs.
In West Maui, we rely on our dedicated volunteers and partners to help us restore degraded agricultural lands and stream beds. We use native plants to revegetate the area and trap sediment and nutrients that would otherwise run into the ocean and smother coral reefs.
But when our volunteer planting days were canceled in late March, we had to pivot. We started recruiting volunteers to grow native plants at home and hang on to them until a CORAL team member could retrieve them and transplant them, or until it was safe for the volunteer to visit the restoration site and plant them.
When Abby signed up, she originally decided to start with three planting kits. Each kit includes equipment and seeds to grow 50 plants. But she quickly realized how much fun it was—she enjoyed taking breaks from distance learning to check on her plants on her patio—and she soon signed up for 15 more kits, bringing her total to 900 native plants.
Abby is one of over 100 volunteers who are helping us grow over 25,000 native plant seeds. Since not all seeds will germinate, we anticipate having about 10,000 plants to ultimately transplant at our restoration site.
Not only has the project helped us recruit more volunteers who are spreading the word about coral reef conservation, but it also allowed us to save the money we would have otherwise spent on purchasing native plants from a nursery.