Bringing the Coral Greenhouse to life

Visitors to the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) now have the opportunity to be a part of history, as the first coral planting program is announced – inviting divers from across Australia to contribute to the ongoing protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

The next chapter in MOUA’s unique story will see citizen scientists play a crucial role in the growth of the Coral Greenhouse, inviting the general public to collaborate with artists, Indigenous story-tellers and scientists to plant coral.

Avid divers with a keen interest in reef conservation are invited to work with a marine scientist and participate in the physical planting of coral at the John Brewer Reef site across the month of December.

The exclusive package offer includes a full day trip to the Great Barrier Reef with Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive, accompanied by a qualified marine scientist from Reef Ecologic, baby coral specimen to plant inside the Coral Greenhouse, photograph of your coral, and a scientific report of the coral garden after 12-months. Prices start at $1,000 per person for the month of December 2020*.

For those unable to travel to Townsville, an option to support the coral installation is still available with pledge contributions starting from as little as $1.

Deputy Chair of the MOUA Board and marine scientist Dr Adam Smith said the vision of the MOUA project was to create four game-changing artworks that will increase knowledge about the ocean, indigenous culture and to inspire eco-tourism, citizen science and sustainability and this opportunity is yet another a tangible way to be involved.

“All of our activities such as planting coral, travel, experiencing and researching will be environment-positive and culturally empowering in the hope that we as humans can inspire change to support the world’s greatest natural wonder – the Great Barrier Reef,” Dr  Smith said.

“We are offering a very unique opportunity for people, families and organisations to leave a legacy and be involved in a life-changing experience to help reef restoration.”

Formally approved under a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority permit, the coral planting will be managed and monitored by qualified marine scientists.

International underwater sculptures in Mexico (M.U.S.A) – also by the Coral Greenhouses’ creator, Jason deCaires Taylor, underwent a similar transformation as new coral was transplanted into the artworks and scientifically monitored over time to record health and growth.

With interstate borders reopening to New South Wales and Victoria, and in the lead up to the Summer holidays, this new way of experiencing the Coral Greenhouse is perfectly timed, catering to a fresh wave of visitors looking to experience the Southern Hemisphere’s first underwater museum.

Townsville Enterprise Director Visitor Economy and Marketing Lisa Woolfe said the MOUA had already cemented the region’s position as global leaders in marine sciences and as a tourism destination.

“We have world class art adjacent to what is the globe’s greatest natural asset, the Great Barrier Reef, and this new offering gives people a very direct way to sustainably support the reef, while experiencing the latest attraction in Townsville North Queensland,” Ms Woolfe said.

“Since its official opening in August this year, Queenslanders have had the privilege of diving the Coral Greenhouse all to themselves, but now we have the exciting opportunity to share this with the rest of Australia.

“MOUA has been designed to evolve over time as coral and fish naturally move into this site; but with a helping hand, and some generous support of visitors from far and wide, the Coral Greenhouse will literally grow before our eyes.”

Tours to the underwater attraction have been operating since August 2020 (and once COVID restrictions permitted), welcoming visitors from across Queensland; however, commercial tourism operators currently visiting the site are excited by the prospect of additional ways to showcase and involve interstate visitors in supporting the reef.

Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive Director Paul Crocombe said the MOUA had already taken the tour offering of the Great Barrier Reef to a whole new level, but coral planting was very unique to the region, allowing visitors to give back to the world’s greatest natural asset.

“We have the benefit of being home to the learning centre of the Great Barrier Reef – visitors who experience the reef off Townsville’s coast are not only witnessing some of the best examples of coral reef, but can now participate in citizen science and learn how to protect it for future generations,” Mr Crocombe said.

“We’re excited to offer this unique science-based experience to our guests and continue to take them to witness the MOUA and assist with the coral planting program.”

For more information on the Grow the Reef experience, visit townsvillenorthqueensland.com.au. To donate to the Kickstarter campaign, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/

*Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability.

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