May 1, 2018
Funding Opportunities at Sea of Change Foundation
News Source: SEVENSEAS Media
Here at the Sea of Change Foundation we are thrilled to be funding important conservation projects that focus on divers and sustainable ecotourism. Specifically, this year we are funding;
- Reef Rescue and Rapid Response Mini-Grants.
- Humpback Whale research and outreach via Gotham Whale focusing on the whales returning to the waters of NYC.
- A biological baseline off the Guanacaste coast of Costa Rica with Oceans First Institute.
1. Sea of Change Foundation Launches Reef Rescue & Rapid Response Grants
In an on-going effort to support marine conservation across the scuba diving community, the Sea of Change Foundation is launching a new fund to help support the immediate response to coral reef damage from anchor drops, vessel groundings, oil spills, and other localized, anthropogenic and acute impacts to coral reefs.
The Sea of Change Foundation team first envisioned the Reef Rescue & Rapid Response Fund during the 2016 implementation of the Foundation’s Cayman Islands Coral Nurseries project with feedback from multiple local dive operators and partners. Then on March 4, 2017, the 4,290-tonne Caledonian Sky cruise ship grounded on a treasured dive site in Raja Ampat, Indonesia and damaged or destroyed approximately 1,600 square meters of some of the most biodiverse and pristine coral reef habitat in the world. This event solidified the resolve of the Foundation to create a fund dedicated to helping enable a timely response to such incidents.
The fund provides for mini-grants that range from $500 to a maximum of $5000. The grants will support divers, and their communities in responding quickly to a reef damaging incident by helping to cover immediate costs such as boat fuel, staff time, video cameras, lift bags, transect tapes, and handheld GPS units. A short-form, 1-page application is required that describes the date and cause of the incident and the planned response. Anticipated responses may include damage assessment and documentation for future litigation and restoration, and/or collection of coral fragments for regrowth, and/or up-righting of larger corals that may recover in situ. Applicants need only send an initial email inquiry to info(at)seaofchange.com to begin the short process to acquire the requested funds. A brief follow-up report and photo-documentation will also be required.
It is the hope of the Board of Directors of the Sea of Change Foundation that this new fund and the grants it provides will empower and enable the global dive community to continue to act as first-responders to reef damaging incidents. “The reefs are where we dive, and often they are why we dive; it is our duty to do all that we can to help protect them,” said Samantha Whitcraft, Director of Conservation & Outreach for the Foundation and Platinum-Pro 5000 diver. And, she continued, “we hope divers everywhere will make use of and support this new fund.” Importantly, “through the Foundation, 100% of donations go directly to such conservation initiatives around the world to ensure future generations of divers can also experience the sea and its wonders,” concluded Wayne Brown, CEO of Aggressor Fleet® and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation.
2. Sea of Change Foundation Funds Humpback Whale Research
In an expanding mission to support marine conservation, the Sea of Change Foundation is pleased to help fund Gotham Whale’s on-going project to study, document, and educate the public about the return of humpback whales to the waters around New York City.
This one-year $5,000 grant will support the creation of a fluke ID database to help identify individual whales migrating between the coast of New York and the calving grounds of the Silver Banks off of the Dominican Republic. The overall goal of the project also focuses on educating area residents about responsible boating around whales and includes a citizen science component asking the public to share their whale photos for inclusion in the ID database.
Paul L. Sieswerda, President and CEO of Gotham Whale said, “Gotham Whale is pleased to have the support of the Sea of Change Foundation. This work is as exciting as it is important. We look forward to bringing New Yorkers a better understanding of how connected our ocean and its inhabitants are, from the Big City to the coral reefs. ”
It is the hope of the Board of Directors of the Sea of Change Foundation that this project will inspire the global dive community to support the protection of marine mammals both locally and globally. “Growing up near the former whaling town of Cold Spring Harbor, New York, I dreamt of the day the whales might return and now that they have. Supporting the work of Gotham Whale is a dream come true,” said Samantha Whitcraft, Director of Conservation and Outreach for the Foundation. Importantly, “through our Foundation, 100% of donations go directly to such conservation initiatives to ensure future generations of divers can also experience the sea and its wonders,” concluded Wayne Brown, CEO of Aggressor Fleet® and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation.
3. Sea of Change Foundation Funds Shark and Ray Research in Costa Rica
In an on-going effort to support marine conservation across the scuba diving community, the Sea of Change Foundation is pleased to support the Ocean First Institute’s shark and ray conservation project in Costa Rica.
The $20,000 one-year grant will support a marine census of sharks and rays in the Tropical East Pacific at two sites on the northwest coast of the Guanacaste region. The area is home to whale sharks, bull sharks, and giant manta rays, along with several ray species that are relatively unknown to science. These sites are currently threatened by unregulated and expanding destructive fishing practices. The goal of the project is to document the presence, abundance, and seasonality of these species to aid in the future, potential creation of a marine protected area.
Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza, the Director of Ocean First Institute, who will lead the project, said, “The Institute is grateful for support from The Sea of Change Foundation who shares the vision and urgency of ocean conservation. Our work will help identify which species in this area are present and which ones need protection. It will also train local divers to conduct underwater surveys and contribute their findings to our online global shark and ray database. Our database is a citizen science portal that engages divers to participate in conservation and will directly expand the scope and reach of our research.”
“This important study area includes the Catalina and the Bat Islands which are popular destinations for local and international divers. The goal of establishing a protected area while integrating the knowledge and assistance of divers is central to our mission and to successful conservation, “ said Samantha Whitcraft, Director of Conservation and Outreach for the Sea of Change Foundation.
It is the hope of the Board of Directors of the Sea of Change Foundation that this project will inspire the global dive community to support conservation for divers by divers. Importantly, “through our Foundation, 100% of donations go directly to such conservation initiatives to ensure future generations of divers can also experience the sea and its wonders,” concluded Wayne Brown, CEO of Aggressor Fleet® and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation.