It was just about a year ago that I joined Oris on an incredible expedition to the Florida Keys, where we worked side-by-side with the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) to learn about reforestation of the coral reefs, harvesting and replanting coral. It was an amazing experience) not only from the watch perspective — where Oris is a huge supporter of the CRF’s efforts – but also from a conservation perspective. With many of our world’s coral reefs in danger, this is a project that has become near and dear to my heart. As such, here we are a year later — post Hurricane Irma, and amidst other environmental changes — taking another look at Oris and the CRF’s efforts.
It should be noted that Oris created the Staghorn Restoration Limited Edition watch (named for Staghorn coral) wherein a portion of the proceeds benefits the efforts of CRF. Additionally, the brand donated two of the timepieces to the foundation for auction, raising another $30,000 for the non-profit, one of the largest restoration organizations in the world. When a group of international journalists joined Oris on the trip, it also garnered incredible awareness globally of the efforts, another boost to the CRF and their quest for support to continue research and progress in safeguarding the coral reefs. The organization has planted more than 13,000 corals back onto the Florida Reef Tract in 2017.
This incredible process was drastically impeded by one of the most damaging hurricanes ever to make landfall in the USA. Hurricane Irma hit the Florida keys in late 2017, and it forced the marine conservation organizations in the Florida Keys to work together to help save the project and migrate much of the coral in the path of the hurricane.
Despite the hurricane, the most 500 Coral Tree(TM) designs created to foster young coral over the past 10 years, sustained the onslaught. While some of the coral could not hold on to the trees during the hurricane, it has all been rebuilt, and the CRF is on its way to reaching a goal of 20,000 new out plants for 2018.
In a press release issued by Oris, “Coral Restoration Foundation’s infrastructure provided critical resources that supported the ensuing post-Irma reef assessments and triage work, led by NOAA and funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Along with a number of other partners, the coalition was able to rescue significant areas of damaged reef before they were lost forever. Lessons from Irma are now being applied by Coral Restoration Foundation as they adapt their efforts to ensure that the reefs they are bringing back to life will be even more resilient in this age of increasingly extreme weather.”
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to join Oris on this adventure and this mission to save the coral reefs, and I am equally grateful for the scientists and conservationists who continue to support CRF and other related causes.