Saving our Seas: One Staghorn Coral at a Time


TODAY Saving Our Seas by Lisa Niver

Thank you to Parenting Team for publishing my article:

Saving our Seas: One Staghorn Coral at a Time

Does your family want to play in the ocean while also participating in saving our seas?

The team at Kimpton Angler’s Hotel in South Beach invites you to rescue a reef. They have adopted a section of the reef in collaboration with the University of Miami and you and your family can visit the coral garden.

Angler's Reef Photo by Steve Boxall
Angler’s Reef Photo by Steve Boxall

Coral reefs thrive in a very limited zone of temperature and pH. Due to pollution, disease and major storms, many areas of the reef in Florida have been damaged. Around the world, concerned citizens and organizations have been re-planting coral to restore the reef and rebuild natural habitats for many marine organisms, while protecting coastlines and coastal communities from storm surge and flooding.

Dalton Hesley, Sr. Research Associate, University of Miami’s (UM) Benthic Ecology and Coral Restoration Lab explained: “We are thankful to have been able to connect and collaborate with Kimpton Angler’s in order to advance coral reef conservation and restoration. With their support, we were able to restore a beautiful coral site aptly named ‘Angler’s Reef.’ Our mission is to build community and coastal resilience through ongoing research, coral restoration, and public engagement which would not be possible if not for collaborators like Kimpton Angler’s.”

The coral reef site is a short boat ride from the Miami Beach Marina and is located at 25.659617° -80.097550°. My group went on the underwater journey with Deco divers. While most of the group enjoyed snorkeling the site with Will and Captain Annie, Anna and I went scuba diving with Patrick and were able to see the new staghorn coral up close. We spent over an hour in the renewed coral garden and were mesmerized by our dive.

Watch my video of our diveAngler’s Reef Boat Trip with Kimpton Angler’s Hotel 

After diving around the world in Sipadan, Bora Bora, Indonesia and Thailand, I have to admit I was not expecting to be impressed by the sea life near Miami Beach. However, I was shocked by both the variety and the size of the animals we encountered.

We saw one of the largest green moray eels I have ever seen and I have seen quite a few 4 to 5 foot eels in Cozumel. It was a giant. We saw a large crab dance across the coral as well as two very big lobsters. We saw many Pedersen’s Cleaner shrimps and schools of fish of all colors and sizes. I loved seeing a variety of Angelfish including both Queen and French Angelfish. Please enjoy my video below but know that you and your small snorkelers are invited to see it yourself during your stay at Kimpton Angler’s.

On your excursion like ours, you can have lunch on the boat and enjoy the beautiful views of Miami beach as you enter into and go out of the harbor.

Miami Beach Marina by Lisa Niver
Miami Beach Marina by Lisa Niver

Sinem Kaya, General Manager, Kimpton Angler’s Hotel, joined me on our excursion and told me about Kimpton’s commitment to becoming part of the fabric of the local community and supporting projects that really can change the world. In fact, the original buildings of Kimpton Angler’s hotel were built in the 1930s by Mr. and Mrs. Townsen as a boutique hotel. They lived in the cottage next to the hotel now known as the villas. They both loved to fish and rumor has it that Ernest Hemingway, a close friend of the Townsen’s, was a frequent guest and inspired the Angler’s nautical traditions.

Kaya told me that the historical heritage of the hotel “ties us inextricably to the ocean that surrounds us and we want to make sure the creatures of the sea are taken care of for our children and their children. We enthusiastically joined University of Miami and their Rescue-a-Reef program to share this important work and the beauty of our oceans with our guests.”

Kimpton Angler's Hotel pool in South Beach by Lisa Niver
Kimpton Angler’s Hotel pool in South Beach. Photo by Lisa Niver

I personally have participated in several citizen science projects to help restore reefs from Belize to Bonaire and commend Kimpton Angler’s for adopting a reef and adding this guided excursion so that guests can explore Miami Beach from top to bottom!

You may have been told that rainforests are the lungs of the Earth, and they do produce nearly a quarter of atmospheric oxygen. However, the rainforest consumes nearly all the oxygen it produces. Most of our atmospheric oxygen actually comes from the oceans which are the actual lungs of our planet and need our protection.

By restoring the staghorn coral, which is one of the most important corals in the Caribbean, we create “thickets” which are a habitat for reef animals, especially fish. Without this, the entire ecosystem suffers. UM and Kimpton Angler’s Hotel added 300 staghorn corals and two underwater “trees” installed at the nearby Key Biscayne underwater nursery. Each “tree” holds approximately 120 coral fragments which are used to naturally propagate hundreds of additional fragments and restore more reefs in the future. A year later, the planted coral at Angler’s Reef is thriving and has grown to the size of a large basketball.

Staghorn Coral at Angler's Reef. Photo by Lisa NIver
Staghorn Coral at Angler’s Reef. Photo by Lisa Niver June 2019
Thank you to University of Miami and Kimpton Angler’s for choosing to make a difference for our ocean and for all our futures.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.

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