Katelyn Hegarty Kelly (Marine Biologist at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa) shares her tips on how people can help and promote ocean conservation
Nestled among the pristine turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean lies the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. The resort offers the perfect tropical getaway for those seeking an adventurous and luxurious escape and invites guests to embark on a truly extraordinary experience with the ‘Adopt A Coral’ program which gives guests the opportunity to get a hands-on experience in a coral propagation project with the resorts on-site marine biologists from Reefscapers.
Katelyn Hegarty-Kelly, one of the biologists at the Sheraton, has studied marine biology for 4 years and has graduated from the esteemed Atlantic Technological University in Galway, Ireland. She joined the team at the Sheraton working on the unique coral propagation project in 2023, working alongside resident marine biologist Kate Sheridan. Katelyn is helping restore coral reefs by building coral frames and placing them along the house reef of the resort. Katelyn’s daily tasks usually consist of building and maintaining coral frames, monitoring, and relocating coral frames and attending guest excursions, and presenting marine talks to the guests of the resort every week. Katelyn has shared the following tips on how to help and promote the conservation of our beautiful oceans.
1. EMBRACE SINGLE-USE ALTERNATIVES
Embracing single-use alternatives is an essential step in reducing plastic usage and its detrimental impact on the environment. While it may initially seem challenging, making the conscious choice to seek out single-use alternatives can have a significant effect. For instance, over 500 billion single-use coffee cups are discarded worldwide each year. By switching to a reusable coffee cup, you can personally contribute to reducing this staggering waste. Small changes in our daily habits can add up to create a substantial positive environmental impact, showing our dedication to preserving the oceans and marine life for future generations.
2. PARTICIPATING IN LOCAL BEACH CLEAN UPS
Get involved in a local beach clean such as on International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 16th. Alternatively, you can show your support by contributing online. Many organizations share their cleanup events online, allowing anyone to raise awareness or contribute through donations. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that a staggering 14 million tons of plastic enter the ocean annually. Often, we adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, but it’s crucial that we change this perspective. The ocean is greatly affected by the massive amount of plastic it receives, impacting the marine life that call it home. By participating in a simple beach clean, everyone can make a meaningful contribution toward addressing this issue.
3. AVOID OCEAN HARMING PRODUCTS
When purchasing jewelry or healthcare products, it’s essential to be mindful of their impact on our reefs and oceans. Take a moment to check the labels and ensure they are reef-safe or ocean-friendly. Some products contain harmful ingredients that can adversely affect our environment, so reading those labels can significantly help in making eco-conscious choices.
4. CONSERVE WATER AT HOME
Be mindful of the running tap while brushing your teeth. Did you know that by simply turning off the tap when not in use, you can save up to 4 gallons of water with each brushing session? It’s a small but impactful way to reduce your water usage and contribute to water conservation efforts.
5. REDUCE TRAVEL POLLUTION WHEN POSSIBLE
Opting for alternative transportation methods such as walking, cycling, or carpooling can have a significant impact on reducing fuel usage. By making this simple yet powerful choice, you actively contribute to lowering CO2 emissions, which not only benefits the environment but also enhances public health and addresses the challenges of climate change. Your small actions can lead to a big positive change for our planet and future generations.
Engaging in research about various organizations or topics that interest you can truly make a substantial difference. By doing so, you open doors to possibilities like spreading awareness, educating others, participating in initiatives, or supporting fundraisers. This increased awareness about the challenges our oceans and marine life face leads to more discussions and decisive actions for a better future. Remember, your curiosity and involvement can ignite positive change and pave the way for a healthier planet.
Supporting conservation organizations through donations is an impactful way to contribute to research and initiatives aimed at preserving our marine ecosystems. By making a contribution to your chosen conservation organization, you can directly contribute to their valuable work in understanding, protecting, and advocating for the welfare of marine life and their habitats.
In the spirit of staying informed and connected with the ongoing efforts to protect and restore the precious Maldivian coral reefs, we highly recommend following the official social media accounts of Reefscapers (@reefscapersmaldives) and Sheraton Maldives (@sheratonmaldives). Through these platforms, you can stay up to date with the latest developments in coral restoration work and the significant strides being made to safeguard these natural wonders.
9. ADOPT A CORAL AT SHERATON MALDIVES
Guests can visit the Maldives and stay at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, to participate in the Adopt A Coral program. Guests can take part in the coral-fragment plantation activity to promote reef habitats and generate new coral, alongside the talented marine biologist.