As CORAL’s development director, I am responsible for the success of our fundraising and communications efforts. One of the most significant struggles I’ve faced in that role is finding the balance between shouting from the rooftops how awesome our organization is—because it is—and giving credit to our partners, whose profiles we want to raise.
That struggle resolved itself for me during a recent trip to Honduras; I joined members of our staff and Board on a field visit to learn more about our current and future projects there. I saw firsthand what partnership really means for conservation and why CORAL’s value lies not just in how effective we are—but more importantly, in how effective we help make everyone else.
Jenny Myton is one of the most talented conservation professionals you will ever meet—and fortunately for CORAL, she serves as our Honduras Field Manager. But Jenny would rather I talk about our partners Giaco, Nic, Christianne, Marta, and the other staff at the Roatan Marine Park, highlighting how they’ve helped grow their small, grassroots organization into a more sophisticated, accountable, and respected conservation leader.
Or Jaime and Antal of Amatela, who are working with the local government, business leaders, and other stakeholders in the town of Tela on the mainland of Honduras to safeguard their newly discovered reefs.
Or Minor from Punta Gorda, a Garifuna village on the east end of Roatan that has been slow to follow new fishing regulations. Once a fisherman, Minor is now an ardent advocate for the reefs as one of the island’s newest divemasters, having been trained by the Roatan Marine Park. If you go diving with him, be extra vigilant (as we hope you always are) about proper reef etiquette, or you will hear from him!
Or Pamela, our passionate Honduras Field Representative on the island of Utila. Jenny met her years ago at a workshop, and—unbeknownst to Pamela at the time—identified her then as someone she’d bring on to the Honduran team as soon as funding was available.
It’s a fact that all of these people are exceptional and worthy of recognition—but it’s also true that their current success was spawned by CORAL. By providing micro-grants, helping them build capacity with tools or trainings, or sharing additional targeted resources, CORAL—through Jenny—has catalyzed the work of these individuals and helped put into place a skilled and diverse team fighting for Honduras’s reefs.
Without these passionate, local activists—without all of us working together—coral reef conservation would not be happening at the scale or the rate it is in Honduras. It is the only time in my life I’ve actually seen that one plus one can equal three—and CORAL, thanks to our supporters, is significantly responsible for that. –Sarah Freiermuth
Check out a slideshow of our trip on Flicker.