Can You Hear Us Now? Finding new ways to reach out through the Eyes of the Reef Network

By AIC guest blogger, Anne Rosinski, NOAA Coral Reef Management Fellow, Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources

A healthy reef (left), a reef with coral disease (right). Credit L. Preskitt

A healthy reef (left), a reef with coral disease (right). Credit L. Preskitt

It is always important to communicate.  Every day, we communicate to those around us by sharing things like what we have been doing, something we have learned, or to ask for their help.  In coral reef conservation, communication is an essential part of management.  In Hawaii, we have found new ways to communicate the latest information about our response to coral bleaching, disease, and crown-of-thorns (COT) sea star events through a community-based observation network called, Eyes of the Reef (EOR).

EOR websiteI have been working with our EOR Coordinators to improve our communication in several ways.  In August, we launched a brand new website (www.eorhawaii.org) developed by one of our EOR Island Coordinators that features an online reporting system, downloadable final reports, training materials, a calendar, and a news blog.  Since its creation, the site has had over 2,000 views from 24 different countries.  Our latest news blog features stories on community events, new research, management updates, and training opportunities.  I also gave our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/eyesofthereef) a makeover and am using it to promote the latest news stories, share photos, and send network members instant updates. About 1,000 people view our content every week and we are now up to 367 “Likes”.

We are continuing to develop more innovative types of communication including talking points for our outreach specialists, stories for local media, and monthly “Current Conditions” reports that will incorporate climate information.  Our hope is that improved communication will result in a stronger collective response to these threats facing our coral reefs.  So stay tuned and feel assured that if there are any new developments, you will be sure to hear about it.

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