Scuba Lessons Inc. Conservation Kidz Program

The Scuba Lessons Inc. Conservation Kidz program was founded by Ms. Dori Brenes. She felt kids who were very strong advocates for marine conservation and who demonstrated this with true, valid and extensive effort should be not just praised but rewarded with what means most to them, the ocean.  Kids and programs that help change the world and make it better by improving the underwater world or the community surrounding it.  The best way for Scuba Lessons Inc. to help achieve this was to offer a diving scholarship program.  This program would make it so that conservation students only cover the cost of the book packs and Scuba Lessons Inc. would provide the training via their instructors for free.  This has grown to become so much more.  We were often able to connect all the kids to support each other and in some cases offer these kids more than just a scholarship.  These powerhouse conservation kids who get things done have become the main Scuba Lessons Inc. heroes!  We support and showcase their efforts and reward them as much as we can.  We provide training, educational programs, equipment, materials, marketing, database administration and building, websites, promotional and event building programs and associations to industry leaders and celebrities as often as we can. We want to help these kids change the world.  Just who are our ‘Conservation Kidz’ you ask?  Take a look and see…

Sara Brenes – a.k.a. ‘Sara The Shark Whisperer’

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Sara started at only 15 years old by watching a moving called Sharkwater by Rob Steward and directed by Paul Watson, Patrick Moore and Erich Ritter which showcases an investigation of sharks importance to the eco-system and the plight of the hate and greed that has killed off over 90% of these beautiful and important creatures in the last 10 years alone.  Issues like ‘Shark Finning’ and ‘Long Line Fishing’ are programs that Sara educates and advocates about to the world.  She has become somewhat of a celebrity and is mentored by the likes of Jaques Cousteau’s cinema photographer, the famous Stan Waterman, and the world renown marine artist Robert Wyland and even Guy Harvey knows her sweetheart and supports her efforts.sharktagging

She has become somewhat of a celebrity and is mentored by the likes of Jaques Cousteau’s cinema photographer, the famous Stan Waterman, and the world renown marine artist Robert Wyland and even Guy Harvey knows her sweetheart and supports her efforts.

I do not know of a human alive who has more love or who has given more to shark conservation then this sweet angel!  She and her beautiful mother work tirelessly to change the world’s perception of sharks and accomplished many goals of getting shark fin soup off the menu at restaurants and making it very unpopular in general.  She speaks to groups, classes, clubs, camps and even major events to educate many others about the desperate plight for sharks and the major need for their protection.  She is always involved in other efforts to help the underwater community as well including being a ‘Dive heart’ buddy special trained at a significant cost to provide assistance for physically disabled persons to have the dream of scuba diving underwater.  She has raised thousands of dollars in fundraising and many other efforts for shark conservation charities like hers.  She participants and encourages others to participate in shark tagging efforts with the Guy Harvey Research Institute and

13087239_1716554051956469_5864032075527143821_oSara has raised thousands of dollars in fundraising and many other efforts for shark conservation charities like hers.  She participants and encourages others to participate in shark tagging efforts with the Guy Harvey Research Institute and Nova Southeastern University’s Shark Tagging and Tracking Program with Dr. Derek Burkholder, Dr. Andrea Bernard and Dr. Jeremy Vaudo who work very hard to raise funds, track sharks, learn all they can about them and provide protection measures.  This team has recently accomplished the ability to identify what species of shark from the DNA of a confiscated fin!  T me-holding-down-a-shark-for-tagging-research-e1434449082495his will help deter criminal shark fin poachers who state they are capturing only non-endangered species of sharks when in fact they just capture everything they can.  Shark fins are big business and Sara intends to put that business under and keep the sharks underwater and safe where they belong.  She has showcased research which proves that sharks are financially more valuable to any community living underwater in diving tourism dollars than can ever be made by these same communities in shark finning businesses.  She needs your help to spread the word and support her efforts and we want to help her too!  Sara is currently in college and is also interning for her Divemaster certification with Scuba Lessons Inc. on full scholarship.  This young lady needs new scuba gear, new website, and printed materials to keep her efforts going.  If you want to support her efforts you can email her super mom Ms. Dori Brenes, who is also a Divemaster Intern at Scuba Lessons Inc. on full scholarship directly to support their efforts at: Dori@ScubaLessonsInc.com.

Sara speaks to thousands each year about sharks and the dangers they face and the myths and untrue tales surrounding these misunderstood creatures.  Sara understands the importance of sharks in our ecosystem and to humans in general.  Without sharks we has humans may not survive.  Killing off sharks my kill off our oxygen supply.  Sharks are an apex predator and fishing for them is just wasteful as eating sharks is toxic to humans.  Sara shares this knowledge and so much more as much as she can.  She is dedicated and works very hard to preserve sharks for humanity and for the ocean.

She needs your help to spread the word and support her efforts and we want to help her too!  Sara is currently in college and is also interning for her Divemaster certification with Scuba Lessons Inc. on full scuba scholarship.  This young lady needs new scuba gear, new website, and printed materials to keep her efforts going.  If you want to support her efforts you can email her super mom Ms. Dori Brenes, who is also a Divemaster Intern at Scuba Lessons Inc. on full scholarship directly to support their efforts at: Dori@ScubaLessonsInc.com

 


 

Cori McWilliams – a.k.a. ‘Turtle Girl’

cori2Ms. Cori McWilliams shown in the video below has made tremendous strides in turtle conservation in both educational outreach programs, 13133196_10154744539677004_1172902280587172705_nevents, public speaking, turtle educational beach walks, as a junior docent at Mote Marine Science Center, social media, and many many other efforts.

This tiny little girl packs a powerful punch  when it comes to saving turtles no one gives more than Cori.  Cori was honored with a Scuba Scholarship by Scuba Lessons Inc. Conservation Kidz program to help pay for her scuba training.  Cori does touch tank docent work at Brevard County Barrier Island Center and has also worked on turtle conservation art projects with the famous marine artist Robert Wyland.  Cori has been featured in several top diving and underwater conservation and kids magazines.  Her educational videos are making great strides in in awareness of many endangered or soon to be endangered turtle species.  She was never pushed by her amazing mom, only supported to be the most powerful turtle conservationist you will ever meet.

12778731_10154517186942004_8580954518547434749_oThis girl is strong, loud and proud and works without ceasing to help turtles and other underwater species.  She has organized personally huge beach clean-ups and really cori33cool beach walks with educational programs for the entire family to see turtle nests on the beach and even watch little turtles hatch and help them make it to the ocean.  She even works to get legislation and cooperation from the community for turning off street lights on and near the beach during nesting seasons.  Cori has worked so hard at this her mom had to home school her to keep up with her activities.  This kid needs our support to help her achieve her goals to make everyone aware of the issues related to turtle conservation from pollution, plastics, and poisons to water cleanup initiatives and vet care for turtles and support for turtle breeding programs and hospitals.  She loves most of all, releasing turtles who have been rehabilitated back into the ocean to hopefully go make more turtles.   Her precious heart is so filled with love for turtles and the underwater world that she will never stop her efforts in this cause.   This is the kind of child we need to encourage and help support as much as possible.   Cori can use funding or printing services for literature, banners, flyers, and posters.  She needs a new website and hosting plan for her program and she is growing like a weed so soon will need some new scuba gear and it would be helpful for her to have a new camera to complete more of the amazing videos this kid produces like a pro!  Be a part of her success by supporting her efforts.

12977050_10154674563617004_6884964599776953664_oShe even works to get legislation and cooperation from the community for turning off the lights on streets near the beach during nesting seasons.  Cori has worked so hard at this her mom had to home school her to keep up with her activities.

This kid needs our support to help her achieve her goals to make everyone aware of the issues 12764775_10154517186782004_8169919952248477664_orelated to turtle conservation from pollution, plastics, and poisons to water cleanup initiatives and vet care for turtles and support for turtle breeding programs and hospitals.  She loves most of all, releasing turtles who have been rehabilitated back into the ocean to hopefully go make more turtles.   Her precious heart is so filled with love for turtles and the underwater world that she will never stop her efforts in this cause.   This is the kind of child we need to encourage and help support as much as possible.   Cori can use funding or printing services for literature, banners, flyers, and posters.  She needs a new website and hosting plan for her program and she is growing like a weed so soon will need some new scuba gear and it would be helpful for her to have a new camera to complete more of the amazing videos this kid produces like a pro!  Be a part of her success by supporting her efforts.  Let us know how you want to help her and we will point you in the right direction!  We are so very proud of Cori and know she is changing the world!  Thanks Cori!  Keep it up my sweet little turtle girl!

Here is another amazing example of this little powerhouse turtle conservationist at work…


‘Wild Over Wildlife Club’  or W.O.W. Brothers… Christain, Derek and Landon Petrisko

13582058_10209872467797952_4732174110361500093_o13227811_1217813581571938_5480635355522783481_oWild Over Wildlife is a voice for the voiceless animals of the world. Help us be their voice.

In 2009, Christian Petrisko, Derek Petrisko, and Landon Petrisko, just 9, 7, and 5 at the time, founded Wild Over Wildlife, or WOW!  WOW is a community outreach and club for kids who work together to help animals, to help improve environmental conditions, educate others and support other charities as well.  These boys along with the many club members have raised tens of thousands of dollars for animals and the environment.  By targeting children of all ages, they hope to educate the next generation about preservation and conservation issues. Periodic meetings are open to everyone and focus on a different area or animal each time.  Donations are made in the club’s name to a variety of non-profit organizations through small-scale fundraisers and optional dues.  No one and no animal is ever turned away. Wild Over Wildlife believes no species should be left behind and no child should be left out.  Together, we can undo the damage that has been done to our environment.52ac92_b47cdda51e754b159b3aec948eca537b

More damage has been done to the planet, and all of its inhabitants, in the past 50 years than in the previous thousands of years man has shared the earth with animals.  The WOW! Club’s founders, Christian, Derek, and Landon Petrisko’s goals are to protect all endangered, domestic, and exotic animals as well as their habitats.  As the great Jacques Cousteau once said, “People will protect what they love, love what they understand, and understand what they have been taught.”

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These kids have done educational videos, beach clean-ups, events, public speaking, travel events, documentaries on underwater species and have their own mini zoo at home with a goal to rescue and rehab and release wildlife or in some cases provide it a forever home if needed to many surrendered, abused, and abandoned animals.   They have taken in a kinkajou (honey bear) named Yogi, prairie dogs, a chinchilla, a sugar glider, rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles, tortoises, a variety of geckos and other lizards, and dozens of unwanted birds, in addition to the more common domestic pets such as cats and dogs.

52ac92_552e0e8addc94f54ad2fd3fc27da6529The WOW kids also work with the famous and big-hearted marine life Discovery Channel photographer Mr. Jim Abernathy on Project Seahorse to spread his conservation message to children in Riviera Beach.  Children who cannot swim get training and those who cannot snorkel will get training to learn to snorkel.  If they can already snorkel they are getting training for scuba diving from Jim and his team at Scuba-Adventures.  By educating these kids to enjoy and understand the ocean he is encouraging them along with the WOW boys to protect the animals in the ocean as well.  Jim is a hero to many of our ‘conservation kidz’ and we are always grateful for his support!  Jim has a true passion for underwater conservation and he is a seaheart we all love and admire.  He takes his time to help kids like these boys change the world every way he can.  His motivation is a powerful message to children like Christan, Derek and Landon and the other members of the WOW club.  So working with him is a very big treat for ths team!  Thanks Jim!

The boys Landon, Derek and Christain made an exclusive documentary and traveled to Cancun, Mexico on a Whale Shark Expedition.  The video they created for educational purposes has won many awards and educated many kids in the conservation of these beautiful animals.  The boys have traveled to Costa Rica and done conservation work there as well as continued work here in Florida including Turtle Hatchling Release work with Gumbo Limbo Nature Preserve.

The club has been making short documentaries promoting its conservation message using only a Go Pro and a Canon EOS.  We are grateful for the fine products these companies put out that, along with the simplicity of iMovie, allow children to create wonderful productions.  The Canon and Go Pro are also being used for the upcoming Wild Over Wildlife and Shark Whisperer Organization 2016 calendar showcasing native Florida coastal species.52ac92_7b4c20858aa14ae38e4e8fef528cbc09

Situated by Ft. Lauderdale beach, the WOW club is well-aware of the lifeline the ocean and its coastline provide to so many aquatic and terrestrial species.  A tremendous amount of time, energy, and a huge portion of the club’s donations, go towards marine conservation.  Club members volunteer with Save-The-Manatee’s conservation efforts by reporting all sightings to them.  We participate in shark and fish counts.  In February, after surveying several miles along Fort Lauderdale Beach, surveys of shorebirds were conducted and reported to the Shore Bird Alliance.

52ac92_4b6594d57d9546c4ba36ac59f26f4e1eThe club is currently supporting a number of mangrove and reef restoration projects.  Several members have completed their Jr. SCUBA Certification and have already participated in coral restoration dives, as well as fish, and shark counts.  They are in contact with Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanic Assistant Director of Development, hoping to partner with them on local reef restorations and their upcoming shark tagging trips.  The Shark Whisperer Organization is another charity that has
been instrumental in guiding the WOW! Club towards areas needing our attention.   Conservationist Jim Abernethy has a mentor to the club members.  We look forward to assisting him with his newest operations Wildlife Voice and Project Seahorse, as well as his organization for veterans, Operation Blue Pride.   These are aimed at helping people of all ages from all walks of life who, in return, become passionate about ocean conservation.

Landon is primarily focused on sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and manatees.  Derek is an advocate for sharks, rays, and the smalltooth sawfish.  Christian is interested in reef restoration and preservation, as well as creating a healthier environment for shore birds.  An avid aquarist, he researches and grows coral frags and has a captive breeding program for dwarf seahorses, hoping to prevent their removal from local habitats by hobbyists.52ac92_30d820db1043410597e08d0d743fc806

Each year, the WOW! Club takes approximately 50 members to witness the release of sea turtle hatchlings.  Watching Loggerheads, Green Sea Turtles, and even Leatherbacks journey into the sea has been an educational and awe-inspiring event for the WOW! members and their families.  Service projects are done throughout the year, including weekly beach clean-ups during turtle nesting and hatchling season.  Trash is placed in the appropriate receptacles and the sand is evened out so that the turtles do not encounter any additional obstacles on their way to and from the ocean.  The WOW! Club was able to obtain recycling bins at Vista Park Beach in Ft. Lauderdale and in several local baseball fields and parks which will reduce waste in landfills and keep plastic out of the ocean.

Symbolic adoptions are another way in which support is given to protect our marine life.  The club has adopted a coral reef, a satellite tracked turtle named Fee Bee, a shark,  and N. Atlantic Right Whales, Baldy, and Bugs.  Petitions were signed to stop longline fishing, which leads to entanglement and unwanted bycatch.  Another was created to lower the speed limit of ships in order to reduce the number of fatal ship strikes suffered by so many of our majestic whales each year.  After learning that several local restaurants were serving Shark Fin Soup, a meeting was held and portions ofSharkwater and Shark Mountain were viewed.  Three petitions were started that succeeded in removing Shark Fin Soup from two of the restaurants’ menus.  Another peaceful protest was just conducted at the third along with fellow shark conservationists, and letters to the manager have followed.  The WOW! Club is proud to raise awareness about issues that most children have never heard of.  It also offers solutions that hope to reverse the negative impact humans have had on the environment.

52ac92_5cf129ad3439420296030ab3c030b085The WOW! Club initially set out to save local endangered animals but has grown to raise awareness about animals all over the world.  They hold an annual costume party each October called the “Howl-O-Ween Ball” in which optional donations are collected in order to support a particular animal or area.  The 2009 event allowed the club to symbolically adopt a Florida Panther.  In 2010, they adopted a wolf.  The 2011 party allowed them to donate to the International Primate Protection League (IPPL) and adopt a gibbon (lesser ape) named Courtney.   The IPPL did a feature article on the children and their fundraising event which can be seen on page 4 here:  http://www.ippl.org/gibbon/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/113_v38_n3_2011-12.pdf.  In 2012, The club was able to make a donation through the World Land Trust, now known as the Rainforest Trust, to purchase 15 acres in a South American rainforest in 2013 and 50 acres in Madagascar in 2014, also supporting The Nature Conservancy’s Everglades Project with proceeds from that year’s Howl-O-Ween Ball.  In Colombia, they helped to create the first sanctuary for two endangered primates:  The Colombian Spider Monkey and the Cotton-Top Tamarin.  In Madagascar, the Indri Lemurs were protected.  Pictures of the children and an article on the club were on the World Land Trust’s website and can be viewed here:

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/wltus/sets/72157632496073908/ and see the boys featured at https://www.rainforesttrust.org/kids-4-rainforests/.  Click where it tells you to for more information and see some of our members on the cover of the pamphlet and a small story about us on the last page.

Additionally, the WOW! Club provides a forever home for many surrendered, abused, and abandoned animals.   We have taken in a kinkajou (honey bear) named Yogi, 2 prairie dogs, a chinchilla, a sugar glider, rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles, tortoises, and dozens of unwanted birds in addition to the more common pets such as cats and dogs.  A variety of reptiles round out the bunch, some of whom were found abandoned in the Everglades, likely released after being kept as exotic pets.  The club stresses the importance of not releasing exotic animals, or any pets for that matter, into the wild due to the impact exotic animals can have on the native species as well as the cruelty factor involved when a former pet is suddenly expected to fend for itself.   The club members enjoy interacting with the various animals, learning about their care, and being taught about the countries where the animals were originally found.  South and Central America, Indonesia, Madagascar, Africa, Papua New Guinea and Australia are some of these areas.

WOW Boys also educate the club on the dangers associated with obtaining “wild caught” animals.  After learning about the deplorable conditions many salamanders are shipped and kept in after being captured by the masses, Wild Over Wildlife started a captive breeding program for Chinese Fire Belly Newts.  Newts had become very popular in pet stores, but there was a lack of education about their needs by pet shop employees.  Sadly, we also learned that virtually all specimens were wild caught.  Their amphibious life cycle is fascinating for the students and provides a wonderful opportunity for them to witness the physical and dietary changes associated with amphibians as they mature.  The WOW! club raises the newts and ships them during the egg stage to other hobbyists and pet owners throughout the country, making it unnecessary to ever support purchasing wild caught newts again.  WOW! Newts are found across the United States from Colorado to Boston.

Wild Over Wildlife has been active in TNR programs (trap, neuter, re-release) involving feral cat colonies.  By sterilizing and vaccinating the cats, they keep them healthy while preventing further overpopulation.  While sedated, the left ears are notched in order to indicate them as already being treated.  Meetings are held which educate the club members about the importance of having their dogs, cats, and rabbits spayed and neutered.  The club also supports a number of shelters who take in unwanted dogs and cats.   We encourage our members to “adopt, not shop” when considering a new pet.

Our hope is that this wildlife club will inspire members to be responsible pet owners, informed about issues involving the environment, and aware of all of the animals who depend on us to keep them safe.

The WOW! Prayer   

 Help us to be a voice for the voiceless

and undo the damage that’s been done.

Help us to save every species,

never losing a single one.


Sami Coburn and the ‘Love Sami Organization’

5763fb950f7025f1962d6a6f93b8640adbf8b68300acecad9572866d9901bf02Sami Coburn sadly is no longer here to see the beauty that her legacy and her charity has created and the changes in lives it has touched but her life will always be honored in the hope given to others in her name.

Love Sami was started as a healing program for those who have suffered the terrible effects of suicide.  Sami had cancer and suffered greatly and ended her life not to hurt others but to end her pain.

It was a terrible tragedy for her entire family and broke many hearts with the intent to save them from watching her die a painful death from cancer.  Each of the family members experienced so much pain and suffering and would give anything for one more day with her.  This sadly cannot happen because of the suicide that took her life just a few short years ago.

As time went on and the slow healing process began her father, Mr. John Coburn, he decided with the beautiful Ms. Dori Brenes to help others who have suffered suicide losses or who are suicidal or faced similar situations by showing them the wonders and beauty of life they may not otherwise get the opportunity to see.   They together started the Love Sami organization to honor her name and her memory by simply sharing with those who have faced this pain the ‘experiences’ in life that make you catch your breath and realize how great life really is.  This organization has made a strong impact by allowing people who want to end their life or have ended their hope or have lost loved ones to suicide to have hope in life again.  This is an important 974742d6b5185cf10fa47a2752bfdb3dmessage for the world that life is worth living and there is more to life than the pain they are facing.

154d593562e0c3d46c3ff4f4b300bfb1They together accomplish this by sharing conservation related experiences that embrace what makes a spiritual change in the hearts and minds of others.  Experiences that are one of a kind and very memorable experiences that truly change lives like taking suicide survivors to swim with baby tigers, shark interaction programs at Florida Keys Aquarium, Manatee Encounters, Moonlit Paddle Boarding Tours, Turtle Hospital tours, discovery scuba dive sessions or Nova Southeastern University/Guy Harvey shark tagging programs, or sky lantern beach ceremonies, and peace retreats and nature walks as well as many more very special ‘experience’ programs designed specifically to provide hope to the hopeless and education and outreach to those who have contemplated suicide or have lost someone to suicide.

The Love Sami Organization is a registered Florida Non-Profit Charitable Organization with 501-3c status. It is the goal of Love Sami Organization to be the number one organization where individuals contemplating suicide or suicide survivors can turn to for help in their healing process. Love Sami Organization is dedicated to being a four star rated charitable 0rganization.29d2cd059d37768921ae2fc73874932c

It is a powerful suicide prevention organization giving people joy and purpose and a reason to want to live and this outreach as many arms that reach very far, even further into our hearts and we want to support these efforts as much as possible.  Scuba Lessons Inc. is committed to providing free discovery dives for suicidal or suicide survivors who have been touch by this pain.  In doing so we hope to share the beauty and peace and wonder that is part of this life and give hope back to them a hope to carry on and maybe even the desire to live to help others and the world as much as themselves.  What John and Dori and Sami do touches lives and allows people who want to give up, to not give up, to hang on and to smile and laugh and remember the wonder of life and why it is important to live until your last breath is taken from you and not give that breath away.  We are such a small part of all this organization is able to do and hope that you can come up with ideas, or ways you can help too!  If you want to sponsor or support this program please get in touch with John Coburn directly at info@LoveSami.org.

 


Lilly & Trent Tougas and the ‘G.O.G.A.B. – Go Green and Blue’ Organization

wow kids65 A little ballerina both on land and in the water little Lilly Tougas and her brother are powerhouse conservationist 0f their own right.  Accompanied by her kind hardworking brother on a mission to save the world these two adorable kids are doing just that one mangrove, one educational program and one clean up at a time.  They are ambassadors for the Wyland Foundation, W.O.W. club leaders and have reached out to many environmental organizations to make a difference in the lives of others and clean up the world we live in.  They have unwavering faith and discipline and the work ethic it takes to make a difference and backed by their super mom Missy Tougas they travel the world doing just that!

At only 3 at mMontessorischool, Lilly would sing “The earth is our mother and we must take care of her.”  She took that very seriously and by the time she was six and read “Hold Your Water” by Robert Wyland and Steve Creech she took the pledge, like a check off list of what she was to do next.   Boy did she do it!

She started a blog called the Green Guide for Kids that is all about sharing ideas on leaving a greener footprint geared for kids to make the changes to change the world.  She did a lemonade stand and reusable shopping bag program.  She did a fundraiser with Cupcakes for the Planet to create a mobile classroom watershed project and was able to do the fundraising and get enough awareness to get other organizations to help create this Clean Water Classroom $8,000.00 project including the Wyland Foundation.  wowkids5

Lilly was greatly inspired when deemed an environmental ambassador during her ‘Hands Across the Ocean’ trip to Beijing, China during the 2008 Olympics where she painted the mural of the ‘Whaling Wall’ in an effort to provide education and awareness to protect and conserve whales with her hero and famed marine artist Robert Wyland.  Wyland told her “Now Go forth and Spread the Word to the World.”  He told her that she was an ambassador to the world for the environment and when she got home she got started her work and never stopped!  She brought her little brother Trent along for all the fun and he loved it just as much.  Wyland was not the only one lighting a fire in the heart and minds of these two sweet kids.  Dr. Sylvia Erle also presented Lilly’s famous Cupcake for the Planet during her speech to show that one kid can change the world and these two together pack a very powerful punch in conservation.

They did not stop there.  Lilly and Trent have one Environmental Excellence Awards for Mayors Beach Clean Up Challenge and Water Conservation.  They have hosted and worked in many beach clean ups and other water cleanup and conservation projects.  These kids have traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for Water Clean Up legislation and laws to protect our environment.  They have provided clubs, girl scouts and other organizational educational outreach speeches and education programs.  They have joined, spoke up, marched, organized and volunteered for Blue Frontier campaign and other rallies and protest to protect our Florida’s waters.

These two have worked with special conservationist and water scientist like Dr. Eryle, Dr. Guy Harvey, Dr. Derek Burke and even the famous grandson of Jaques Cousteau, Dr. Fabian Cousteau!  They also partner with many other organizations to reach out, clean up, educate and clean water and promote conservation efforts all across the state of Florida and the world in some cases.  wowkids2

More recently they have teamed up with FIU to become citizen scientist in marine conservation by creating a mangrove planting and restoration program to help filter pollutants with plants in the water.  Mangroves also supply a vital marine animal nursery habitat for newborn sharks and many other sea creatures and are desperately needed.  Mangroves are notoriously hard to grow and these kids have worked with some of the best and been extremely disciplined in the care and love for the work that they do in order to make this program a success.  This is where Scuba Lessons Inc. found these two angels for oceans and have recently awarded the two environmental superheroes a full scuba scholarship and membership in the exclusive Conservation Kidz program.  As part of our support; we are working to build these kids a new database for the logging of the mangrove citizen scientist work and a new website to showcase their accomplishments and hopefully encourage other children to get involved in conservation.  If you want to support these efforts you can contact Tina O’Connell at 321.299.5796 and she will put you in touch with their mother directly who can better discuss the needs for their efforts and ways you can help support their cause.   We hope to offer more support, training, and equipment to these kids in the near future and would love your support to do so.   They are new to diving and could use a full set of gear.  We can get it at dealer cost but it is still expensive.  These kids deserve more than a piece of paper for an award.

GoGAB, their organization is about Go and Gab to everyone about saving the environment, protecting the green land and protecting the blue waters in every way they can.  It is specifically targeted for kids to be the change in the world.   They spend their own time to help our planet and we owe them so much.  Scuba Lessons Inc. is committed to doing all we can for these two Environmental Angels.  Your help is greatly appreciated!


Wyatt ‘Reef Ranger’ Borden nd the Reef Ranger Kids Organization

‘Reef Ranger Kids’ was orginally founded in the summer of 2016 by Wyatt Borden who during his open water scuba training absolutely fell in love with scuba diving and the underwater reef system.

13891903_598881903604518_6809214168229716978_nWyatt always loved sharks and the ocean and was always having fun participating and volunteering in things like ocean clean-ups.  But this was a whole new thing for Wyatt!  He wanted to start an organization to help other kids be a part of the solution.  What solution?  The solution needed urgently to help Florida’s Reefs.  See Wyatt spent time attending a few workshops on coral and reef and fish afterward he quickly recognized how much the reefs and everything in it were in trouble and needed his help.  Florida has a polluted water problem, an over-fishing problem and this has a huge impact on reefs.

13710485_598881403604568_2579062988841023587_oWyatt has attended a SeaFAN Bleach Watch presentation and not only learned there are so few people who are working as citizen scientist divers and surveying coral reefs to watch for bleaching but he was also inspired to commit himself to becoming a citizen scientific diver and helping the program out.  As a newly certified diver trained with Scuba Lessons Inc. Wyatt can now do field surveys for coral bleaching reports to SeaFAN.  Wyatt in the same dive will not only do surveys on the status of the beautiful coral he gets to dive.  He will also be able to document the fish and report his findings to the free Reef.org database system.  He has even planned to take a little underwater camera to document it and he can do his surveys when he gets back home online.  It is actually not that hard at all.  Like filling in a simple form online.  This system which scientist use to make important decisions about research and is also used to determine the protection offered through Florida Fish and Wildlife for certain species of fish that Reef.org field counts may prove are in decline.  This essentially protects the reef as an accomplishment one individual CAN do to help save the reef system.  Wyatt wants to really see the reefs be protected and committed himself to not just doing this himself but also to work on spreading the word about it and encouraging other divers including Jr. diver kids like him to join him in the dives and do the surveys.  The entire family of divers can be Reef Rangers.  If you can snorkel or dive you can do the surveys.  Even if you cannot you can help with the cleanups on the beach before or after the dives.  Reef rangers is a new program for people to help protect and guard the reefs, against, well – everything that could hurt them.cropped-13669655_528528807344305_977245371393801567_n.jpg

This Reef.org and SeaFAN bleach watch programs and data recording systems are what many scientists use to make important decisions about research, the protection offered through Florida Fish and Wildlife for certain species of fish or coral that Reef.org field counts or SeaFAN bleach watch reports may prove are in decline.  This essentially protects the reef and is something he determined he can do as one individual to help the reefs.  But he also showed up for this dive on a day when it was preceded by a fun beach clean up event with the SOS Dive Team!  What fun he had as he and his mother got to meet Dr. Derek Burke who helped that day (He is the scientist who works tagging sharks at the Guy Harvey Shark Research Lab at Nova Southeastern University.)   Wyatt wants to really see the reefs be protected and committed himself to spreading the word about it and encouraging other divers including kids like him to join him in the dives,

13600193_1741212359471448_6632464257828333023_nWyatt really has some ocean love in his heart for sharks and many other animals on the reef and wants to really see the reefs be protected and committed himself to spreading the word about it and encouraging other snorkelers and divers including kids like him to join him in the dives, field survey, bleach watch programs and beach clean-ups.  He wants to encourage many others to help to collect the data and work towards better conservation laws to protect Florida’s beautiful ocean reefs.

The main effort of documentation of this degradation of coral or fish declines are very critical if we are ever to hope to get protection measures and laws in place to help stop the causes of coral bleaching.  Some factors are just natural but most are man-made reasons for ocean coral or fish decline.13920886_1750785165180834_7124900021905959244_n

Reefs get damage when people walk on them, break off coral or during storms and other fowl weather.  The weather they usually will come back from but the man made damage if continued is not something many species of coral can survive.  Education can help with that.  When we pollute and throw out plastics we put toxins in the water and non-biodegradable substances that animals like turtles can eat.  These animals will feel full in their tummy because the plastics won’t break down and their

When we pollute and throw out plastics we put toxins in the water and non-biodegradable substances that animals like turtles and even fish do actually mistake for food and do eat.  These animals will feel full in their tummy because the plastics won’t break down and their bodys cannot process them as they would food.  The animals then don’t eat enough food and slowly starve.  But Reef Rangers like Wyatt can make a difference by doing beach and ocean clean-ups before, after and/or underwater during their dives/  Fellow Reef Rangers can join Wyatt in helping to prevent these animals from suffering this kind of tragedy.  We can also encourage others not to pollute.  We can work to create awareness of why it is so important to dispose of trash properly and to pick up trash when you see it.  People generally do not want to hurt turtles.  If they knew their garbage was doing that level of damage, then hopefully they might stop putting it on the ground and dispose of it properly.  Maybe they will go one step further and instead of using disposable cups, cans or containers instead purchase a reusable cup or container that they won’t throw away at all, just clean and reuse.  I think you get the idea.  Being a Reef Ranger means you care and take the easy small steps that it takes to protect our state waters and beaches and most importantly reefs for future generations of people and animals.  Every little effort makes a difference and if enough little efforts make enough differences we can change the world one kid, and one Reef Ranger at a time!

Be a part of the solution and join the Reef Ranger’s today!  If you are not a diver you can do the surveys in some areas as a snorkeler and Scuba Lessons Inc. is committed to offering free snorkeling classes to anyone interested in joining the commitment Wyatt has made as a Reef Ranger and want to take part in beach and ocean clean-ups and field surveys on coral and fish  as part of the Reef Ranger program.  Scuba Lessons Inc. has also offered to discount the scuba program for anyone who is an actively participating Reef Ranger surveyor for more than 3 months (showing at least 30 logged field or bleach watch surveys reported with clean ups done before or after) $100.00 OFF their scuba training program.

There are far more rewards to being a part of this program.  You will meet great friends and have lots of really great experiences and super fun diving, and/or snorkeling the beautiful reefs we are working to protect.  Your parks and beaches will be cleaner and you will soon have opportunities to do more exciting club dives like Disney’s Epcot Nemo and Friends Aquarium Dive with the SHARKS for example.  Yes we are about protecting the reef and everything in it.  It is a cool club for cool kids and hope you are willing to join in the fun and eexcitementand conservation efforts with us.  We will be posting our events on the conservation dive club meet up online calendar board at: http://www.MeetUp.com/ConservationDivers/ and http://www.MeetUp.com/ConservationDiveClub/  both of which are free to sign-up for and you can view the calendar of our events there; along with other environmental opportunities that you can help with if you so desire.

This little boy has exploded with a passion for the ocean and we are about to see some very great things.  He is now a meetup.com/conservationdivers event organizer and is planning some really great beach and park clean-ups near his home, some educational programs and we are hard at work on his new educational ‘Reef Rangers‘ website to promote reef protection by kids, for kids!

Wyatt needs scuba gear, event materials, printed materials, educational materials, an underwater camera/recorder, and hosting services.  This little boy is about to change the world.  If you want to be a part of it by sponsoring him in this program please contact his mother at marci@reefrangerkids.org


We always want to do so much more for our conservation kids and often do not have the resources.  You can choose to sponsor a kid like Cori, Sara, Gauge, Wyatt or Christain, Derek, and Landon, or  who really gives 150% to conservation directly or you can choose to sponsor them all.  Just contact Tina O’Connell for more information at: 321.299.5796 to see how sponsorship works.  This is a direct sponsorship and all funds go directly to the kids and no funds are used for administration.  These kids need hosting packages for websites at about $95 a year with domain names, they need event materials like printed flyers, banners, and posters to get their message out, they also need small give-away items that are educational for events, they need tables, chairs, and tents for events, wagons to pull gear, some like Cori need camera’s to shoot video and post up videos.  Some kids need full equipment for scuba diving.  You can be a part of the magic that is children changing the world.  Just let us know where, who, or how you want to help.  We can help you get with the right person and get it done.  It is all for our underwater world and that belongs to everyone!