13-year old Chicago girl donates over $6,000 to Reef Check
I am an eighth grader in Chicago at The Chicago City Day School. For the
past two years, I have participated in Reef Check’s scientific data collection
in the Bimini Islands along with a few of my fellow schoolmates. We stayed on
board The Shedd Aquarium’s research boat and conducted numerous studies
including counting fish, identifying coral and plant species, and assessing the
overall health of the coral itself. This data was posted to Reef Check’s website
for review by scientists the world over.
I found this to be an exciting experience, but also one that was disturbing
given the declining health of the coral reefs. Reef Check has done a tremendous
amount to educate citizens, governments and private industries about their
actions’ impact on reefs in an effort to change behavīors and halt their
decline. I am very pleased that Reef Check has been able to enlist signatures
from 135 countries around the world to commit to the “Declaration of Reef
Rights” that can be found on Reef Check’s website.
I found Reef Check’s work so inspiring that for the past two years I have
sold products at an art market in an effort to raise money to support this
cause. I made jewelry and collected samples from my parents’ gift company,
donating the profits. I made posters and passed out literature which gave me an
opportunity to speak to my customers about the coral reefs and I was quite
surprised at how many people were genuinely interested and took my literature to
look up the website and contribute. I deposited over $800.00 from my sales to
This past month I became a Bat Mitzvah and had over one hundred people at my
service, all of whom took a card I printed up directing them to the Reef Check’s
website to sign the declaration. I spoke at length about Reef Check during my
speech and educated my guests about what causes reef endangerment and how it can
be stopped. I also passed out a wallet-sized pamphlet detailing fish that should
not be eaten due to over-fishing as well as those fish that are safe to eat
since these actions have an impact on the ocean fish population at large. My
evening celebration was held at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium around the Caribbean
Reef tank. In lieu of gifts, I asked that my guests contribute to Reef Check and
am proud that I was able to donate over $6,000 to this cause from these proceeds
I learned that one person can make a difference. I want to thank Reef Check
for all of the fine work that they do and for inspiring me to take on this cause
and spread the word to others. It is amazing what can be done when one is
committed. This experience will serve as a lifelong foundation for reminding me
of the power of giving and the ripple effect it has throughout a community. I
hope my story inspires others to share my passion for the coral reefs and
contribute to your fine organization.
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