Coral Gardeners: Tahiti’s Youth Rebuilding Coral Reefs

by Hayley Simpson | Updated: March 27, 2020

Did you know that coral reefs are truly treasures of the sea? 

Home to over a quarter of the world’s marine life, the value of coral reefs to the global economy is estimated to be a cool $10 trillion annually, through food resources, fighting climate change, and tourism. 

This is just one reason why epic organizations like Coral Gardeners are so important.

Keep reading to learn more about these coral crusaders.

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Who are the coral gardeners?

Coral Gardeners is a non-profit organization created in 2017 by a group of young surfers and fishermen from Moorea, Tahiti’s sister island in French Polynesia. 

Passionate about the ocean, Coral Gardeners aim to save coral reefs from extinction through their reef restoration process (more on that below) and by raising awareness, which they believe is “key to build a better future for our oceans.” 

Coral Gardeners raise awareness by discussing their organization and the importance of coral reefs via social media, school lectures, events, and conferences worldwide.

What is coral gardening?

Coral gardening is foremost about reef restoration. The first step of the process at Coral Gardeners is to collect broken coral pieces and place them on bamboo stems. The coral then remains on their underwater nursery tables for one month before being planted back on degraded reef areas to grow and subsequently recreate reef habitats. 

Coral Gardeners have found this to be the most efficient way to rebuild and strengthen nearby coral reefs against future damage.

Why are coral reefs dying?

If current trends are anything to go by, every one of the world’s coral reefs may be dead by 2050. The three main reasons why coral reefs are currently dying at an alarming rate are warming temperatures due to climate change, overfishing, and human pollution.

Warming climates lead to coral bleaching, which can kill coral in severe circumstances. Meanwhile, pollution comes in all forms: human-made litter (goodbye single-use plastic), runoff from land-based activities, air pollution, and nutrient pollution.

Are the coral gardeners legit?

Yes, the coral gardeners are legit. They have worked with Alexis Ren on a campaign to raise awareness and donations for coral reef restoration. Raising over $90,000 via their GoFundMe campaign. They also have a large team of gardeners, scientists, and content creators.

How to join coral gardeners?

Coral Gardeners’ headquarters are in Mo’orea, French Polynesia. If you’d like a change of scenery and wouldn’t mind spending your days off beach-hopping and climbing volcanic peaks on a tropical island, Coral Gardeners have both paid and volunteer positions listed on their website.

Volunteer positions require a six-month commitment but include lunch each weekday. Meanwhile, a prerequisite for most paid roles is fluency in both English and French. Coral Gardeners also have remote volunteer positions available and offer a guided ecotour in Mo’orea, so there are multiple ways to both join and champion the team in restoring the reefs.

If you want to support the global economy and help rebuild coral reefs, Coral Gardeners have a unique “Adopt a Coral” initiative. Once you make your purchase and name your coral (seriously), they’ll nurture it and send you an adoption certificate. 

Basically, thanks to Coral Gardeners you can save the planet in your lunch break and become a part of their (unfortunately non-caped) coral crusaders team. Sign me up!