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Coral reefs are bustling underwater communities inhabited by thousands of species of animals and plants. Often mistaken for rocks or plants, coral is actually the limestone skeleton of a tiny spineless animal called a coral polyp. Coral reefs are mostly found in shallow tropical water, and are among the world’s most endangered ecosystems. Today’s tour explores why coral reefs are so important, and how we can protect them.
25 Things You Can Do To Save Coral Reefs
In the United States, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the health of domestic coral reefs. But all of us can help, even if we don’t live near a coral reef. To that end, NOAA offers twenty-five reef-saving activities (“Become a member of your local aquarium or zoo.”) that will spur your own reef conservation ideas.
Coral Reef Photobank
If you’re in need of royalty-free coral reef snapshots for a school report (or any other non-commercial use) it’s Coral Reef Photobank to the rescue. Click on any of the thumbnails in the geographically-organized gallery to view the annotation and copyright instructions (for example, most require a credit to the photographer.) After perusing the photos, visit the rest of the Coral Reef Information Network. Don’t miss the printable PDF fact sheets listed under Tools & Resources.
Reef Education Network
Reef Education Network from the University of Queensland in Australia is my pick of the day. It’s educational but not boring, and kid-friendly but not simplistic. Best clicks are the glossary and all the articles listed on the Contents page. Oddly enough there aren’t any activities listed under Activities, but rather a feature on sharks. Free registration will get you a virtual notebook for collecting favorite links from around the site.
=============> These site reviews (and more) are available as a two-page printable clickable classroom handout. Take a free look with a risk-free 10-day trial membership in Surfnetkids Printables Club.