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You can help with reef survey

Budding environmentalists are again being urged to volunteer to help monitor the health of Bermuda's reef systems.

Residents are encouraged to become “citizen scientists” and sign up for Reef Watch, a day-long event that involves surveying key fish and corals essential for reef health.

The project is run by Bermuda Zoological Society and training will be given before participants take to the ocean.

Organisers hope to recruit 50 teams for the event on June 28.

More than 100 people took part last year, surveying 35 reef locations across the Island and covering more than 500 square kilometres of the Bermuda lagoon.

As well as tracking the health of the reefs, the event also serves as an important fundraiser to support the work of the Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Analysis and Monitoring (Bream) programme, led by Dr Thaddeus Murdoch

Teams are encouraged to raise at least $500 from friends, family and corporate donations.

The team that raises the most will be rewarded with prizes. Last year's victor was Team Faraway, led by Tim Davidson, which raised more than $1,400.

“Taking part in Reef Watch last year was a rewarding experience that I highly recommend,” Mr Davidson said.

“Bermuda's reefs are an important part of our ecosystem and Reef Watch allows participants to expand their knowledge while collecting valuable data.

“It is also a fantastic way to spend a day on the water.”

Reef Watch training sessions will be held at Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo on June 23 and 24 from 6pm.

Another of last year's participants, Jeremy Pinchin, chief executive of Reef Watch lead sponsor Hiscox, said: “I really enjoyed the opportunity to make a hands-on contribution, along with others from Hiscox, through the Reef Watch programme.

“Since coming to the Island, my family and I continue to be in awe of the rich and colourful ocean environment that surrounds Bermuda.

“The opportunity to be a citizen scientist and help preserve the marine environment was an opportunity that I could not turn down.

“Some [of our reefs] are only in a moderately healthy condition, which makes it all the more important that the Reef Watch work continues.”

To register, visit the Reef Watch Crowdrise page at www.crowdrise.com/reefwatch and click on “Set Up Your Fundraiser” to join an existing team or start a new team.

Teams must provide their own transport to the reef.

To read the report from last year's Reef Watch, visit www.bzs.bm/conservation.php and click on BZS Reef Watch.

Water mission: Members of the public can help to survey the Island's reefs later this month as part of ReefWatch

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Published June 18, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 18, 2014 at 1:36 am)

You can help with reef survey

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