We Need Your Help With Thailand’s Tsunami Coral, Reef & Livelihood Efforts

 

The Reef Ball Foundation in association with the government of Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Reef Ball Thailand, Racha and Racha Sea Masters needs your assistance with the Phuket Coral Rehabilitation project’s post-tsunami work to aid in the environmental and economic recovery of the disaster affected Phuket region.

 

Project Poster with images here. (http://www.reefball.com/map/thailandposters/Rachaposter.pdf)

 

What's up?

 

The Reef Ball Foundation has been working in Thailand on a Coral restoration project on Racha Island, just south of Phuket since before the Tsunami.  The Tsunami made a real mess of the corals in the bay and so we have been invited by our local team (Racha Resort, Seamaster Divers and Reef Ball Thailand) and the Prime Minister, Khun Thaksin Shinawatra, and Minister for the Environment Khun Suwit Khunkitti to expand our coral rescue, reef clean up, Crown of Thorns Starfish monitoring, reef rehabilitation/restructuring, livelihood restoration, Post-Tsunami bay management planning, buoy installation, MPA action planniung, coral propagation / coral genetic bank creation (This genetic bank consists of a Reef Ball for each type of coral we rescue / propagate with as many "families" of that type planted on the Reef Balls), scuba/dive trail formation, snorkeling trail formation,  and coral planting project.  We sent a team of 8 down last week to assess the situation and get everything set up for a full project the month of April.  By April, 300 Reef Balls will be in place for the team to begin the coral propagation and restoration processes.  Located directly in front of the project area, the Racha Resort is a 5 star resort that is rebuilding it's dive center, and some damaged infrastructure and therefore is currently not open to the publicThis is a blessing for us as we can use the fantastic rooms for our own expert volunteer crews and they will provide the rooms and food free to all volunteers accepted for the project.  We hope to have a team of up to 60 volunteers during the month of April. 

 

There are several ways you can assist us in this urgent and important work.

 

We are going to select people to go on the trip based on an email application system.  Basically, if you want to go, we need you to send us an email with 1) What talents you can offer (not necessary if you are already a Coral Team member since we already know this).  The more your unique talents are needed for the overall team, the more likely you will be selected, 2) What dates you can attend (working days are M-F during the entire month of April...the longer you can stay the more likely we will select you), 3) The amount of financial support you can provide or will need provided.  (I.E. if you are not already a coral team member, we suggest a donation of $2000/week stayed to the project to help cover project expenses/hotel costs/food/etc. and to support your application...but this might be in any form such as donated FF points for another team member, etc.  If you are a Coral Team Member or considered an Expert for the team, then tell us what you need to come (i.e. for us to cover airfare, expenses or stipends, etc.).  The higher your contribution or the lower the requirements the better chance you will have of getting selected.  Basically, this project needs to be self funded so we will need a balance of people donating verses experts that need some expenses covered.  Note: The Reef Ball Foundation has already funded over $50K in molds, coral propagation supplies, team visits, survey work, etc. and the opportunity to expand this project is based solely on the amount of financial support we can obtain from multiple sources.  If you can assist in fund raising for this very important project please contact our Executive Director, Kathy Kirbo at kkirbo@hotmail.com.

 

Work will begin on the week of April 3rd and continue through the week of April 25th.  See the Reef Ball Calendar System ( http://plus.calendars.net/reefball ) to view the latest schedule.  Volunteers that are accepted are expected to post their travel schedules & Itineraries to this calendar system as well as emergency contact information.  You will be given a password and user id if accepted to the project.  If accepted, you need to send to John Walch (john@reefball.com) a jpeg file with your passport & dive certifications, immunization records and DAN insurance card.  Please indicate if you have any special health or diet needs.

 

Those accepted and joining us in Thailand will be provided:

 

Ground and sea transportation to project and hotel when we meet them in Phuket until their departure

Full accommodations and meals for the duration of their stay at the 5 star Racha Sanctuary Resort on Koa Racha Yai

Tanks & Weights, each volunteer must be dive certified to participate in diving activities. 

Laundry service

Weekends off for leisure (Stay at Racha for free or venture to Phuket/ other excursions on your own).

Applicants must be 18 years or older or accompanied by a parent or guardian and in good health and physical condition to handle the long hours and difficult work in hot conditions.

You will be asked to sign a waiver of liability.  Contributions to the project to support your application are tax deductible in the US (Talk with your tax advisor to verify this) as a donation to a 501(c) 3 Public Charity.

 

We have a “work hard, play hard” kind of culture.  There will be a private band for the group most nights, a volunteer room with snacks & drinks will be provided.  We expect to have Internet access in the volunteer room but since there is a lot of construction going on country wide don’t count on that being too reliable.  Volunteers will get t-shirts, have the opportunity to enhance their Coral Team Certificates or to obtain one.  It will be an experience of a lifetime!

 

 

Sorry this seems a bit complicated on short notice, but this is an emergency activation and we need to put together a top team quickly…corals that have been uprooted have a limited amount of time where they can be effectively saved. 

 

Please email...don't call...for needed details to keep things easier for us. 

 

John Walch (john@reefball.com) and Marjo Van Der Buick (Marjo@reefball.com) will be leading the team and Todd Barber will be overall project manager (reefball@reefball.com). 

 

Applications will be decided upon by a Reef Ball Foundation Committee on March 15th, all decisions final.  For VERY STRONG applications, we may be able to confirm you earlier to allow for better travel planning. We will continue to post detailed project information on our website under Thailand World Mapping System.  Found at  http://www.reefball.com/map/thailand.htm and you can even see some pictures of the start of the project from the team visit last week.  This is a historic opportunity not only to help in the world's largest natural disaster in our lifetimes, but a great chance to help restore a, once beautiful, coral reef. 

 

The work environment is absolutely idea for our work.  Water is clear, there is an abundant supply of imperiled coral fragments (our team has done assessments and nursery work already), and we have already shipped by container all the supplies we will need.  We built a very advanced floating coral table & fragmenting/deployment station.  All you really need to bring is your own dive gear (underwater digital dive cameras are also encouraged).  Talk with your team leaders about specialized equipment you might need for your particular specialty.  Our teams will be well organized in terms of the exact activities we will be performing each day…..note, this is a team effort, not for individual yahoos….please coordinate everything through your team leaders.

 

You will find travel, food and accommodations safe as the there has been substantial infrastructure rebuilding in Thailand.  We did not find a need for Malaria drugs.  Our teams did have a little trouble with email as the internet seemed to go down a lot with all the construction efforts.  Bottled water is provided.  Food was “staff quality” as the resort is not open.  Our hosts were VERY nice and helpful.  They are building a restaurant just for our team....will have a live band just for us every night...and of course you will get all the tanks of air you want.  The earliest applications will be favored so get yours in as soon as possible.

 

If you can't go.... consider donating money or some frequent flyer miles to support another expert volunteer coming.  All donations are to a public charity and should be write offs for tax purposes (check with you tax advisor). 

 

 Do you use  American Airlines? Whenever you book a flight, use the Reef Ball Business Extra #754011.
 You still get all your frequent flyer points and Reef Ball gets credit toward future flights!

 

 

For more information on our CORAL TEAM see http://www.reefball.com/reefballcoalition/index.html

 

To see a similar project we did last year go to http://www.reefball.com/map/antiguascience/antiguapressrelease.htm 

 

Last Updated

3/1/2005 7:34:42 AM