What an amazing weekend with the Waterbox Aquarium family! We learned about so many ways to care for your own aquarium, and witnessed first-hand what this passionate team is doing to support local coral conservation in the Florida Keys! All the proceeds from this event were donated to the Coral Restoration Foundation, the largest coral restoration organization in the world and based right here in Florida out of Key Largo!
Waterbox recorded the entire event, so if you missed a keynote, you can view all the talks on their youtube channel by clicking here!
The family reunion and they truly are a family, was held at the beautiful Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key, and featured some of the coral hobbyist industries brightest and most passionate minds including talks by Mike with Aquapros, Joseph with Manhattan Aquariums, Jeff with Reef Aquaria Design and Jay with Echo Tech Marine, all of whom have been in the aquarist industry for years!
Live Painting at Waterbox Family Reunion with Roxane
The event also featured Roxane Boonstra with the Coral Restoration Foundation, who shared the work her team and organization have dedicated their lives to in order to preserve and restore the endangered corals of the Florida keys!
- I will link each talk at the end for you to enjoy at your leisure!
Roxane Boonstra Speaking at Waterbox Family Reunion
Roxane shared her work with CRF, as the Dive Program Manager, where she plans all the volunteer dive trips to both care for and outplant corals from their nursery into wild reefs! Today, the Florida Coral Reef tract, the only one in the continental USA, is under extreme pressure from climate change, poor water quality and diseases like the recent outbreak of flesh-eating coral disease.
CRF along with other organizations like The Florida Aquarium and MOTE Marine Lab are working together to protect the last 5% of our remaining stony corals, with the goal of growing wild coral populations through out-planting.
Live Painting at Waterbox Family Reunion
During the event, I had the opportunity to live paint with all the guests, bringing people into the creative realm and guiding them through the creation of a communal piece!
Live Painting with guests at Waterbox Family Reunion
The artwork, featuring a keys native the Queen Angelfish, along with native stony corals like Staghorn, Elkhorn and Brain, will glow in the dark and fluoresce when finished.
This aspect of the work will speak about the research and community work that Glowing Gone has dedicated its mission to, which is uplifting the story of our wild corals and their urgent need for help.
The Glowing Gone team discovered the first-ever instance of coral fluorescing, which is where a coral will vibrantly glow neon for a few days after a bleaching event, before quietly passing away. This happens because the algae that the coral polyps depend on for food (which also gives them their color) leave the body of the corals when stressed under hot temperatures, causing the bleaching effect.
Coral Spawning at Keys Marine Lab, Kelly Quinn
Once bleached, a coral has a few days to retrieve new algae in order to not starve to death, but in that period they also are susceptible to the sun's rays, much like us if we do not have sunblock. In order to provide the corals a few more days of protection, these corals will start to fluoresce vibrant neon colors to act as a sunscreen to protect their fragile tissues.
Once completed, limited edition prints from this artwork will donate back to the Coral Restoration Foundation and their efforts to protect and restore corals on the Florida Coral Reef tract, supporting their efforts to preserve our wild heritage for future generations.
Waterbox Family Reunion
I want to give a huge thank you and shout out to Waterbox Aquariums for making this event a reality and for raising thousands of dollars for the Coral Restoration Foundation in the process! Without passionate souls like them, we wouldn't be able to protect our home for the next generation. Please check them out on social media and online at www.waterboxaquariums.com especially if you’re interested in corals or are a hobbyist aquarist wanting to learn more!
To see a highlight video of the event click here!
Live Painting at Waterbox Family Reunion with my dear friend Alix Kermes
Always feel free to reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, ideas, or educational opportunities! :)
Love you guys, and keep protecting what you love!
Video Links and References:
- Roxane Boonstra - Coral Restoration Foundation - Watch Keynote on Coral Restoration
- Aquapros - The Modern Freshwater Aquarium - Watch Keynote
- Joseph Caparatta - The Ends and Outs of an Aquarium Store - Watch Keynote
- Dr. Hanna Hoch with MOTE - Sexual Reproduction and Breeding Corals - Watch Keynote
- Jeff Turner - Evolution of Marine Aquarium Trade - Watch Keynote
- Bob Ferner - Coral Compatibility - Watch Keynote
- David Hammontree and Scott Crowe - The Importance and Influence of Social Media - Watch Keynote
- Jay Sperandio - The Future of Aquarium Keeping - Watch Keynote
- Frank Young - Where are you Getting your Fish From? - Watch Keynote
- Jake Adams and Chris Meckley - Everything Aquaculture - Watch Keynote