West Palm Beach, FL, September 24, 2020 --(PR.com)-- This deployment by the 1000 Mermaids Artificial Reef Project in partnership with Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resource Management, ReefCells.org and the newly formed Ocean Rescue Alliance (ORA) will grow the existing diving and eco-tourism destination from 18 artificial reef modules to over 55, adding over 50 tons of ocean friendly concrete to the seafloor and will take place the week of October 12, 2020 off of Peanut Island near Blue Heron Bridge.
Chris O’Hare of ReefCells.org is the project's reef building partner and primary donor of the materials. His ongoing partnership with the team behind the 1000 Mermaids Artificial Reef Project and the newly formed Ocean Rescue Alliance (ORA) has made for an incredible team of entities focused on saving the world's reefs and marine life starting with the one's in South Florida.
Already a popular dive destination for locals and visitors, the Mermaid Reef provides a growing home to the many tropical fish, corals and other sea critters that call this region of Florida home. This upcoming deployment will feature more artistic and innovative sculptural reef designs, a memorial reef, 10 mini memorial reefs dedicated to our veterans and first responders, and a sculptured reef modeled after globally known professional mermaid Emily Gugliano. By leveraging the latest innovative technology to increase restoration efficiency we are able to help create more fish habitats in addition to expanding the artistic eco-tourism diving destination from 18 to over 68 reefs along Palm Beach’s pristine coastline.
In addition, Ocean Rescue Alliance (ORA) whose focus is on artistic & memorial reefs, conservation, restoration, research, education will deploy their first Memorial reef sculpture, honoring the life of fallen Firefighter, Diver, and passionate 4ocean Volunteer Kevin Mehaffey who was tragically taken from us earlier this year. Kevin leaves behind a pregnant wife, and an extended family who quickly organized this memorial in Kevin’s honor. Kevin’s reef will feature a life-size statue of Kevin in his free-diving outfit along with memorabilia provided by his family, including paw prints from the family's dog captured by ReefCells VR Scanning Technology which helps with artificial reef conceptualization, construction and increased accuracy in creating the 3,500 lb limestone concrete “Reef Cells” that make up the core of the memorial reef. By utilizing technology versus traditional manual casting methods, the ReefCells and (ORA) teams are able to create lifelike sculptures of living or deceased individuals, by scanning an interested donor in person or by simply scanning a photograph of a loved one who has passed.
“Using art and technology to benefit the underwater ocean ecosystem is a great collaboration,” says Jena McNeal, Senior Environmental Analyst and Artificial Reef Coordinator for Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resource Management. “I see sculptures like these as the future of artificial reef deployments.” Mcneal works to create marine habitat and conserve and restore our marine ecosystem throughout Palm Beach County.
Working in partnership with Reef Cells and Ocean Rescue Alliance who have generously donated over $500,000 in artificial reefs to the County’s artificial reef program, Jena continues to contribute her extensive knowledge and experience to this project - one of the many artificial reef projects she has completed and has in the works. From Palm Beach County’s perspective Jena says, “The art sparks the interest of divers and snorkelers while the material creates additional habitat for fish and benthic marine life that are a source of food for bottom feeding animals and a good indicator of water quality. Palm Beach County is grateful to be involved in this endeavor.”
About Reef Cells
A pioneer in the artificial reef community, Reef Cells has created and deployed artificial reefs in Palm Beach County for over 30 years including reefs at Peanut Island, The Andrew “Red” Harris Reef in Jupiter, and reefs at Phil Foster Park adjacent to the Blue Heron Bridge in addition to others. Reef Cells Founder Chris O’Hare says, “Nothing is more important to South Florida than our healthy marine environment, I am honored to join the many others who work hard to protect and preserve this great resource. Reef Cells is dedicated to creating habitat for marine life, building coral reefs where none previously existed and developing strategies for marine preservation and restoration.”
About Ocean Rescue Alliance (ORA)
Ocean Rescue Alliance (ORA)is an environmental not for profit that supports saving the ocean one reef at a time. Through the creation artificial reefs designed to incorporate art, innovative designs, and safe materials to enhance marine habitats and provide a unique diving location. Our artistically crafted reefs enable every individual the opportunity to create an eternal reef for their loved one or company. Creating a lasting memory on the ocean floor that will help restore our marine ecosystems. Our education program seeks to empower and inspire our future generations to maintain our marine environments. Coupled with our citizen science program, Coral Rangers, which engages our local communities in reef monitoring and coral restoration efforts. Our research investigates design improvements, fish population dynamics & recruitment, coral outplanting, & making effective restoration progress. Our goal is to spread awareness and create marine habitats that will last for generations to come.
About the 1000 Mermaids Artificial Reef Project
The 1000 Mermaids Project is a public art installation that will also serve as an underwater eco-friendly destination for tourism off of South Florida’s coastline and beyond. For more information, the public can visit 1000mermaids.com, “Like” us on Facebook at facebook.com/1000mermaids, follow us on Instagram 1000mermaids or call (954) 361-4998.
Ocean Rescue Alliance
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