Dive Club

Join the Florida Conservation Scuba Diving Club, for Great Events, Opportunities to do hands on underwater conservation efforts, Club Discounts on gear and on travel and dives and of course to dive & travel too all over Florida!

club1Scuba Lessons Inc. sponsored Florida Conservation Club serves the state of Florida and has instructors and groups that meet in: Lehigh, Miami Beach, Sarasota, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral, Venice, Naples, Tampa, Clearwater, St. Pete, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna, Edgewater, Daytona, Port Orange, Kissimmee, Winter tutle hospitalSprings, Altamonte Springs, Orlando, Longwood, Poinciana, UCF area and South to West Palm Beach and Key Largo and even Key West. turtle releaseJoin our club today and meet others like you who care about the underwater world after seeing it diving and want to protect it. Not only do you save money but you have fun, you make a tangible difference in the world and become a part of the difference. All of our training is done “green” with our training team and we encourage all of our students to join in conservation efforts. To love the water is to protect it. Whether your learning advance diving skills to keep your fins off the coral or rescuing a whale you are making a difference! We want to support your efforts, organize and pool together our resources to make the biggest impact with the least effort so we can keep doing more. We at Scuba Lessons Inc. will offer you members specials on Scuba Training and programs.

How do we do it? We partner up! We welcome marine and community based charities to let us know where we can help. We share great divinginformation and services and pilot whalesdiscounts. We share dive knowledge and updates too. We also together sponsor and support efforts of several underwater focused charities including:

M.A.R.S. Marine Animal Rescue Society in missions to preserve, rescue and protect marine mammals and we offer to provide free diving and lessons and discovery dives to handicapp military in our HSA give back program. We offer professional scuba career path training to inner city kids in rough situations and helping them through professional levels in diving giving them a positive path in our Positive Future program. This summer and nballsext summer and in January we are undertaking two major staghorn and elkhorn coral replanting club programs & class with the Coral Resoration Foundation in an outreach program on coral conservation which is hands on. We also plan to support the Florida Underwater State Parks Mapping Programs as volunteers in scientific field survey work and underwater video and photography supporting other programs who are hard at work heading these tasks up.

We are a co-op, joined together sharing resources to acomplish as much as we can for the marine environment. We are joining local dive clubs and oranizations like handiReefBall and Coral Restoration.org to do coral restoration projects planned for this year, we are writing a grant request now to hopefully sponsor an acre of underwater land for the Coral Restoration Foundation to expand the coral nurseries. We are partnering with Blue Pride organization to provide dive training for veterans of war with Jim Abernathy’s teams and Shark Whisperers all together to make this happen.

We do educational programs. Endangered Watch programs. We do scientific research diver assistance programs from counting snook to taking pictures of dolphins in the wild in Sarasota bay and notating GPS coordinates.. this information goes to scientist who study the effects of the oil spill, these dolphin research diver assistance programs and many others are done by volunteers. We do major trips and share ideas, shore dives, discounts and other resources to keep in with our club mission of making diving fun, affordable and accessible and sustainable for everyone now and forever. sharktagThat means making sure our reefs stay there and sharks are not killed off!

A major new partner this year is SHARK WHISPERER program. Their website is: SharkWhisperer.org and there is much we can do to help them. They offer educational programs for school children from K-12 grade. You can talk to your children’s teacher and get this set up in your classrooms. We support shark tagging programs with Sara the Shark Whisperer and do dives and out reach events to support shark education and outreach and shark conservation efforts.

We also do fundraisers fun dives for shark whisper team to keep their educational programs going. We do allot in the mix too like help marine biology programs in tracking and counting snook, turtle hospitals, manatee rescues and hospitals. We support programs to plant reef balls and are working on a reef project with a local dive club joining forces, we plan this year to propagate coral and with people together who each do a little, together we do so much to help the environment. This takes allot of work, but its fun and although there is no obligationto do anything by joining the club we greatly encourage and welcome your participation continually though our meet up group at www.meetup.com/ConservationDiveClub/. reefballsThe cool thing is there is so much going on all the time you can simply pick and choose what you want to join in on and what you don’t. All the details show in your quarterly newsletter and on the meet up group page. Just sign up, its free for the club and many events and some there are fees but they usually are boat fees or class fees but with huge discounts.. We are looking for hands on volunteer efforts more than cash donations.. This is about achieving the most action to help the underwater world with the resources we have.

manateerescueOur club is ALWAYS FREE! We are extremely involved in the community we have with members all over the state of Florida we do many fun and exciting things. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter to keep up to date- it is sent out quarterly and in marine emergencys only when we call for help. You can be a part of the change to make things better, animals, people and our world. 71% of our world is underwater and we need to do more to protect it. You can be a part of the solution. Frankly its just fun for me! We meet so many friends and get to interact with amazing animals and see amazing things happen. This club has always been a blast.

Here are some of the programs we curently have in place, support, sponor or founded now:

1. Reef.org – We are a proud member & a Reef.org Field Station. We provide field surveys, fish identification online resources and training and we promote counts of fish on the reefs as we dive normally anyway. Using Reef.org forms and underwater slates and pencils we simply record the fish and submit our results of the surveys online at Reef.org. It is easy and free way to help researchers by letting them see the results of the data collected they can get support for ecology programs and study and learn more about the reef systems and effects of man made issues on these reefs. It is is easy to be a part of this effort. First Join Reef as a member by going to this web page: Reef.org Member Registration Then watch this video to learn how to do the survey’s correctly when you do your next dive. And Lastly earn how to identify the fish! Click here to view our fish identification learning links and information page. Once you do a few survey’s give us a call. We can provide testing and certificates for passing these exams and proving your expertise in fish identification!

2. We also sponsor and started M.A.R.S. Marine Animal Rescue Society of SW Florida and we partner with state and grass roots wildlife rescue organizations and send volunteers to efforts to rescue stranded or in danger marine mammals. Using boats, divers and volunteers we can make a difference. Once you join the conservation club you will get newsletters on how you can help with emergency efforts for strandings and how you can take additional volunteer training in animal husbandry, handling and care to be prepared for these efforts. The strandings can be in the middle of the night and require hundreds of volunteers to help save the animals. These classes are rare and are time intensive but for those that participate the rewards of what you accomplish is worth the effort!

3. We are teaming up with Local Dive clubs and our club and ReefBall.org in an effort to do a major coral reef restoration project and need your help. On our meet up events will be planned that allow you to learn how you can help and get in the water planting reefs and coral and making a difference! We will be following up with planning for a major reef ball coral restoration project for our club once we get permits and the corals in our aquariums gets big enough! Join the club and see the newsletters for more information on this project!

4. Sharks – Shark Angels, Shark Whispering.. We are a Shark Whisperer program partner. Want to get up close an personal with a shark or help in tagging efforts for shark research programs? How about educational programs to teach the general public about the dangers of depleting the worlds sharks by finning! You can join the conservation club and get emailed information on projects we have going on with Shark Protection! The Shark Tagging research dives are listed on our meet up pages as they occur: You can find out more or go direct to them for info on how you can help by emailing Sara the Shark Whisperer directly at: sara@sharkwhisperer.org. Also by getting our newsletter we will update you with research dives and shark educational events, ecology programs and dives when they happen!

5. Dolphin Research Database -Simply snap pictures of dolphin dorsal fins and submit with GPS coordinates. You do not even have to dive.. better at the surface or even snorkeling. We will then submit this image and coordinate data to dolphin research teams in Sarasota bay, Tampa Bay and the Gulf. It is that easy. Submit photos and coordinates to info@scubalessonsinc.com anytime! This project was at the request of the Mote Marine Science Lab Scientist who are research the effects of the Gulf Oil Spill and a new disease that is affecting birth rate, weight and reproduction in dolphins in the gulf.

6. Manatee Educational Programs – 3 times a year in the winter months we sponsor a snorkel with the manatees and on the way out and back and during the day we provide a manatee educational program that teaches you all about manatees. How they breed, feed, communicate, bone structure, size, habits and habitat. These are taught by Tina O’Connell a certified NAUI scuba instructor with over 30 years experience working with Manatees and caring for them both in the wild and in an aquarium setting. Join the Conservation Club newsletter and meet up group to get notified of these events!

7. Nations Kid’s Scuba Outreach-Kids in the city need to exercise, stay off the streets, away from the drugs and keep busy! Interceed in the life of a disadvantaged inner-city child who does not have the money to afford to scuba dive or learn how. We are calling for volunteer instructors in the Ft. Myers area who are willing to join with Nation’s Charity and sponsor or provide FREE scuba training for these kids. We are looking for sponsors who will help pay for basic equipment and book packs for these kids. You will get videos and pictures of your sponsored kid and updates on their progress for your sponsorship. We would like to build this into a program where by the older teen children can go pro and become divemasters and interns for our local dive shops and later teach the younger ones in the programs everywhere they end up. Essentially offering kids a career path that beats the drugs on the street or other trouble they would get into. This keeps kids busy and happy and healthy! You don’t have to be an instructor to help. You can sponsor a child for only $179 to cover the costs for their scuba certification, tank fills, c-card, training dives and more. Be a part of it by emailing me today: tina@scubalessonsinc.com for more information.

8. Blue Pride -This is our partnership with BLUE PRIDE commitment to provide resources and training services to veterans of war. This program supports soldiers returning from war with injuries. By providing no or very low cost scuba classes for these soldiers they realize the disability that limits them on land does NOT affect the ability to get around comfortably underwater. This is a world the freedom they fought for can finally be felt! It is an emotional ressurection for some and for others down right aquatic therapy that really works. Helping soldiers cope with the difficulties of war and showing we care is what this is about. Be a part of this program by sponsoring a soldier or if your an isntructor who is HSA certified please join our efforts by offering free training to these soliders! We also need sponsors to get some of our willing instructors HSA training so they can offer free classes to handicapped divers. Give back as they gave so much to you!

9. SEAFAN – SeaFAN is a program where we just are aware of what is going on and report it to the proper agencies who can take action when and where needed in time to help the reef system. Things like letting in-experienced boaters kindly know where reefs are so they don’t ram them, or reporting coral bleaching or reporting damage or changes in reef structure or life. Doing REEF.org Field surveys in the reef locations repeatedly over a period of time or just beach clean-ups.. by your self or with the club members. Bleach watch, taking pictures of the same reef over and over and reporting the changes in coral conditions with White Pox disease or bleaching or other issues you may see like excessive predation like too many snails. We have classes and programs we will organize for these efforts on our meet up group. http://www.meetup.com/conservationdiveclub/

10. Conservation Kidz – Kids earn scholarships and resources in exchange for a commitment to promotion of underwater conservation for the rest of their lives. Serious commitments only, we want to see action. The children that have done this have already made HUGE strides in outreach, education, shark programs and promotion of conservation. This program was the brain child of Shark Whisperer MOM – Dori. She had girls that wanted to do shark educational programs but were not divers. Getting this training made the power of their work multiply. The power of a kid in conservation is AMAZING so far and we are looking to see this project EXPLODE! Want to be a part of the Shark Whisperer program or a conservation kid on another project you care about? Then.. email me for an application: tina@scubalessonsinc.com

11. Coral Restoration Foundation – We will be promoting coral conservation education and hands on dives to the largest coral nursery in the world to actually propagate and grow coral then a second dive to a living reef to plan coral that has been propagated and larger. We take hands on action in this program. Sign up for the dives on the meet up at http://www.meetup.com/ConservationDiveClub/ Look for CRF Dives or Coral Restoration Foundation Dive – Coral Class and 2 Tank dive is $130 and includes the whole day, diving, tanks, weights, lunch and class and experience and a $50 donation to CRF is included in that fee for thier time to do the class.

12. The Peace Reef ProjectThis mission is to build a reef in the shape of a peace sign big enough to be seen from outer space. Peter Wolfson and his partner Rodger have permitted approval from the state to build this and just need our help. We need divers, snorkelers and boaters and just people helping with the live rock. The first BIG kick off for this project is slated for March 1st. We want at least 100 people there helping so we need you! Join the project at: www.meetup.com/conservationdiveclub/ Please sign up today. If your taking a dive boat there is a cost for that service, otherwise there are no fees to join this effort.

13. Scuba Diver Girls – A brand new group of girl divers started in Key Largo that work to education and promote underwater conservation efforts and cater to women. As a female club president I know women can be real power houses in conservation and these are green diver intiative instructors who care about the underwater world. They focus on the differences for women in diving and there are many. We will update you on projects with them as they occure. To see their events just join the club meet up at: http://www.meetup.com/conservationdiveclub/ or check out their site directly at: http://scubadivergirls.com. You can also find them on facebook, just search Scuba Diver Girls on facebook and Like their page!

14.  University of Miami – Department of Coral Research and Restoration – We support this program through our meet up club and our club members actually are able to become citizen scientists and complete these missions to farm coral.

15.  Love Sami organization – A suicide awareness program that uses scuba as a form of therapy to help suicide survivors.  Many other life experiences are used as a therapeutic method to give hope to the hopeless and an appreciation for life and living on through difficulties.

16. Wild over Wildlife – 3 little boys have made huge strides in helping anything under the sun, not just under water.  These boys rescue, rehab and release where possible many different species of animals as well as share their passion for conservation and work to promote eco activities and awareness on environmental issues and work hard to correct it on many levels.  See more about them on our Conservation Kidz page as these boys are all three scholarship winners!

17.  GOGAB – Go Gab about the Green and Blue!  – Started by Lilly and Trent Tougas.  Powerhouse children who also are Ambassadors for the Wyland Foundation Youth program and work tirelessly alongside the WOW boys to promote everything eco and water related to conservation.  Again more information can be found in our Conservation Kidz page as they too have recently won a scholarship.

18.  Dade City Wild Things – An organization set to preserve endangered wild animals like large cats.  It offers a sanctuary and educational programs that help to house animals that would otherwise be killed off.  These animals may not be released for various reasons like missing teeth, or illness or the way they were treated early in life.  They may have been in a circus or similiar situation where they were abused.  This group gives them love and a wonderful place to life and shares the magic with everyone who visits.  You can even swim with a baby tiger here!

19.  Manatee Watch -Friends of the Three Sisters Springs Manatees – A group working to protect manatees from tourism and abuse and pollution.  Awareness, education and manatee swim programs help to encourage this support.

20.  One Florida Foundation – A couple members of this organization have proven to be both political power houses and environmental advocates with great reach.  They have also won scholarships from the conservation kids program and do very well in many avenues to get laws passed to protect florida’s clean water and to clean up the dirty water.  They are making great strides in the Lake Ochechobee crises we are currently facing along with infrastructure issues like the septic tank leaking in Port St. Lucie and the tons of pollution along the canals and rivers that flow in and out of this lake.  The leadership of One Florida drives all over the state on a weekly bases traveling from council meetings, political meetings, planning meetings and all along representing our state and its people, animals and water and making sure that what ever can be done to protect it all is done.  Nyla Pipes is a key figure in this organization and one of the strongest players in the game.  Lend your support!  You can take part in activities like the Lionfish Safari they sponsor every year or clean ups or helping out with many other efforts.  Get in touch now via email at nyla@onefloridafoudation.org

21.  Reef Rangers.org – Started by our conservation kid ‘Wyatt Borden’ Reef Ranger himself to encourage groups of Jr. Divers and non-diving kids to do beach clean ups followed with reef.org field surveys and coral SEAFAN bleach watch surveys as citizen scientist.  His program encourages kids to have an appreciation for the underwater world and advocates for protection of Florida’s beautiful reef systems.

22.  Project Seahorse – Started by the infamous Jim Abernathy this program was meant to offer free snorkeling classes to encourage locals to have a better appreication for what is under the water at the Phil Foster Park, Blue Heron Bridge and hopefully help stop the decades of pollution and dumping of garbage in this very fragile but extremely diverse eco system.  Jim is a hero for many of our conservation kids and well known national geographic photagrapher and as busy as he is, he always makes time for kids.  We have yet to be able to take part in this project so far but we are willing and at the ready to do so and encourage our members to take part and help!   We have offered our services as snorkeling instructors to do programs when they are planned and offered our meet up group up for inviting our members to these events.

There are many other projects we take on from time to time as our partners reach out to us from building turtle hospitals to picking up trash.. What ever is needed our members want to help. We need your support and friendship for the sea.

Have an underwater ecology project you want to list here? Just email me the info to share it with our club members: info@scubalessonsinc.com

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We also have a new Meet up which is where we host all of our dives. Join for free at: http://www.meetup.com/ConservationDiveClub/

Should you have events, dive, opporutnities to help in the aquatic community or ideas to post or present to the club or put on the calendar please just send them over via email and promise I will get them out to our teams, members and volunteers: Tina@ScubaLessonsInc.com

Please also contact me if you want to sponsor or partner with us.