Some of the worlds top underwater photo bugs got a crash course in Reef ecosystems and conservation at this year's Kona Classic on the Big Island of Hawaii . In their first year of participation, Reef Check partnered with Body Glove to bring a sustainable environmental aspect to this prestigious week-long photography celebration.
Over 50 photogs, including photo pros Marty Snyderman, David Fleetham, Eric Hanauer, and Bonnie Pelnar, went through a Reef Check introduction and basic training led by Executive Director Gregor Hodgson and Hawaii Coordinator Dave Raney. 15 contestants even took time out from the contest to participate in a sample Reef Check snorkel survey at Shark Beach outside of Kona Harbor. Reef Check staff members were on hand every step of the way to answer questions about the ecosystems that the participants were photographing.
Highlighting the week was Body Glove Kids' Day at the Kailua-Kona Pier. Over 100 local kids, ages 6-17, showed up to collect their free set of snorkel gear from Body Glove and go on a treasure snorkel hunt. Prior to the treasure hunt, Reef Check's Megan Wadley was able to speak to the kids about protecting their Hawaiian coral reefs by following these 4 basic rules everyday they get in the water:
1. Use waterproof sunblock
2. Don't take any of the animals or coral home
3. Use flotation devises when snorkeling on the reef
4. Don't feed the fish
The kids all won bonus prize by telling Reef Check Staffers what they learned following the snorkel.
Reef Check is very proud to have participated in this annual event and we owe special thanks to Body Glove and its President Russ Lesser for making our presence at this year's Kona Classic a huge success.