Win This Trip To Restore Coral Reefs In Indonesia
Love the environment, traveling, snorkeling in the ocean, and storytelling to help protect coral reefs? Five lucky winners turned coral reef influencers will have the opportunity to see the the center of the world’s largest coral restoration program—the SHEBA Hope Reef—on an all-expenses paid trip to Indonesia in August 2023. The contest closes June 2. Read on for how to apply and why coral restoration is important.
The SHEBA Hope Reef
The SHEBA Hope Reef coral restoration project, unveiled to the world on May 5, 2021, is just one of 30 reef restoration projects in seven different countries led by the SHEBA cat food brand and parent company Mars Inc. So far, that work includes restoring more than 860,000 square feet of coral reef around the world. By 2029, SHEBA’s Hope Grows program aims to restore coral reefs the equivalent size of 148 Olympic swimming pools (almost two million square feet).
Coral reefs are dying, largely due to climate change and resulting warming oceans, pollution and non-sustainable fishing techniques. These reefs are critical for the communities that live near them and for the whole world as they provide biodiversity, food, protect coasts from storms and flooding, and drive tourism.
“Scientists have estimated that if we do nothing, 90 percent of the world’s tropical reefs will be gone by 2043—a devastating prospect not just for the reefs’ ecosystems, but for the billion people who depend on the reefs for food, income and coastal protection,” said David Smith, Chief Marine Scientist at Mars Inc., in a statement.
Coral restoration helps reverse the damage and the SHEBA Hope Reef is the largest such project. It’s off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, near the tiny island of Palau Bontosua. Part of the Coral Triangle, the area was once abundant with coral and undersea life.
Those corals are now coming back. The new reef is made up of hundreds of two-foot-wide, sand-covered steel stars to which 12,600 coral fragments were attached and are now multiplying. The stars spell out the word “hope” in 46-foot-high, 30-foot-wide letters that can be seen from space (and by Google Earth). They’re the result of careful research to determine the best coral growing conditions for the area and the coral cover has already grown from five to 70 percent. In turn, the 42 species of coral here attract fish with the fish population growing by 260 percent.
The SHEBA Hope Reef Advocate contest
Five people will be selected as SHEBA’s Hope Reef Advocates—one from the United Kingdom; one from the United States; one from Germany; one who is a from either Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines or Singapore; plus an additional person from any of these countries. The five advocates will first go on a ten-day virtual training course with the coral restoration team and then, in August 2023, fly to Makassar, Indonesia for the ten-day trip to see the reef and help the residents of Bontosua with the project.
Reef Advocates will blog about their experiences on and off the island, such as snorkeling over Hope Reef, preparing and planting reef stars, and talking to Bontosua residents about their lives and the importance of healthy reefs and oceans.
Details on how to apply for the contest are on the SHEBA Hope Grows website, as is the application form. Requirements include a two-minute video of yourself explaining the reasons you’re passionate about protecting the word’s oceans. Want to be a coral reef influencer? Send in your application before the June 2, 2023, deadline.