07 August 2023
SUMMERLAND KEY, Florida Keys -- Hockey player Ryan Lomberg, left wing for the Florida Panthers, joined coral restoration expert Dr. David Vaughan Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Plant a Million Corals Foundation’s land-based coral nursery on Summerland Key for a milestone event: the cutting of the foundation’s 10,000th coral.
The public was invited to the Plant a Million Corals Restoration Park at Summerland Farms for demonstrations, book signings and tours of the facility -- highlighted by Lomberg’s careful cutting of the landmark coral.
Vaughan, founder of Plant a Million Corals, is known worldwide as the father of micro-fragmentation, a revolutionary technique that facilitates the rapid growth of coral. He discovered that corals cut into microscopic pieces grow 25 to 40 times faster than they normally grow in the wild, providing a stock that can be transplanted to help recover and stabilize reefs in the Florida Keys and around the globe.
According to Vaughan and his team, Plant a Million Corals’ solar-powered land-based nursery is the proof of concept that large-scale coral restoration can be achieved at low cost, using micro-fragmentation.
While Plant a Million Corals has been involved in growing coral all over the world with its partners, Saturday’s event represented the first of many milestones toward the organization’s goal of producing one million corals per year by the end of 2024.
Earlier this year, Vaughan was named one of eight Ocean Sentinels for his pioneering work and was recognized with a sculpture of his likeness placed at the John Brewer Reef in Townsville, Australia. He was the only American honored with the Ocean Sentinel designation.
Plant a Million Corals Foundation: plantamillioncorals.org
Lower Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com/lowerkeys or 305-872-2411
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