Have you ever wanted to be a marine biologist? Well, here's your chance to be part of a team of like-minded divers that are collecting real data that will be used by decision makers. Some of you may be familiar with Reef Check California (RCCA). Very briefly, we rely on specially trained volunteer divers (aka Citizen Scientists) from around the state to assist with unbiased scientific data collection of California’s rocky reefs. We then pass along this data to resource managers so they can determine the best methods of managing our ocean resources. (To find out more about our sites or our data, please check out http://ned.reefcheck.org.) We have recently announced our 2012 training dates and we are looking for dedicated divers to join the Reef Check team to help us accomplish our ambitious 2012 survey goals. We invite you to join us for the fun!
To date, Reef Check California has trained and certified over 850 volunteer divers comprised of a diverse group of ocean users including recreational divers, commercial urchin fishermen, lifeguards, marine educators, police divers and university students. Since 2005, RCCA divers have completed 377 surveys along the coast, from Humboldt County to San Diego County.
If you are interested in collecting data on our local rocky reefs and getting more out of your dives, this may be the perfect fit for you! Participants will learn about our local ecosystems/critters, will learn how to use their new set of survey gear and will be able to participate in our regular survey dives which will ultimately help improve marine management by providing much needed data.
2012 California Training dates:
· Fort Bragg: April 21- 22 (classroom and pool) and April 28-29 (shore dives)
· Los Angeles Training: April 28/29 (classroom and pool) and May 19/20 (overnight boat trip)
· Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo Training: May 5/6 (classroom and pool) and May19/20 (overnight boat trip)
· Monterey: June 9-10 (classroom and pool) and June 23-24 (boat dives)
· Orange County Training: June 23/24 (classroom and pool) and June 30/July 1 (overnight boat trip)
· Santa Rosa: July 7-8 (classroom and pool) and July 14-15 (boat dives out of Monterey)
· San Diego Training: July 14/15 (classroom and pool) and July 28/29 (boat dives)
To sign up for a training, please check out this page: http://reefcheck.org/rcca/training_schedule.php.
You may wonder what happens during a training. The trainings take place over two weekends and the first weekend consists of classroom and pool activities. The second weekend consists of 6 dives over two days. You will become very familiar with many of California’s marine species of fish, invertebrates and seaweed. All training materials (transect, data slate, compass, calipers, manual, field guide flash cards), boat costs and NAUI specialty certification cards are included in the training. Survey dives take place statewide throughout the year, with local dives taking place a few times per month. Prospective divers do need to have over 30 lifetime dives with 15 dives taking place in California or other locations with water temps under 68° F.
If you have any questions about the project or need more details about the training, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can check our website for more information on course specifics, prerequisites and exactly what’s included in the training here: http://www.reefcheck.org/rcca/Training_Course_Outline.php. Also, if you’d like to know what it’s like to be a Reef Check volunteer diver, I can put you in touch with a local volunteer or two and they can tell you about their experiences. I have heard from several volunteers that their diving has never been the same after becoming a Reef Check volunteer! I hope to meet you at an upcoming training!