How to Experience Coral Planting in Sri Lanka

As one of the most threatened organisms in the world’s oceans coral reefs are fast disappearing due to the effects of water pollution and other human activities. Coral bleaching, in particular, has been one of the major obstacles in preserving the marine life in the ocean as well as the delicate eco systems that depend on healthy corals to survive. Those who wish to volunteer for coral planting experiences in Sri Lanka can help conservation efforts in the island by following these simple steps.

1. Read Up
First and foremost visitors looking to take part in coral planting activities in Sri Lanka must read up on the basics of coral reforestation efforts in the country and the world at large. The coral heritage of Sri Lanka has been well-documented and considered among the finest in the world although the coral reefs in most parts of the island were damaged due to the South Asian tsunami of 2004. As living organisms corals are not merely intriguing natural wonders one comes across on a scuba diving excursion but crucial to the survival and breeding of innumerable marine species as deep sea habitats for fish species are concentrated around coral reefs. In addition to providing a natural barrier against land erosion, the corals protect the pristine coastlines of islands such as Sri Lanka from the ravages of thunderstorms and other harsh weather conditions.

2. Look for Volunteer Programs
Although most travellers visit the island for purely vacation or business purposes, finding volunteer work in Sri Lanka is not difficult for those interested in giving back to the country they are visiting in a meaningful way. Consult volunteer programs offered by social enterprises as well as those available through outfits from Connaissance de Ceylan to countless other travel agencies that are geared towards volunteers. Coral planting volunteer initiatives, however, may not take place all year round so you may have to travel during the period from May to October for example when the weather is conducive to such efforts or whenever the seasonal volunteering programs are taking place.

3. Make Inquiries
Certain coral planting programs may provide the gear and equipment needed for the project while others may require one to bring one’s own scuba gear, for example. Contact the volunteer program organizers in advance and ask the right questions with regards to what is expected of volunteers and what part of the conservation efforts you will be taking part in so as to prepare for the experience. Note that certain volunteer programs will also offer tours of the Coral Museum and other incentives to encourage more volunteers to join the project so make sure you are aware of the perks involved as well. It is also important to make enquiries regarding the safety precautions in place for volunteers as coral planting is a water based activity that does involve quite a bit of risk. Lifeguards may or may not be on hand in various beaches as the budgets of various projects may not be able to afford it while others may have lifeguards and other service providers collaborating with the coral planting initiatives.

4. Hone in on Essential Skills
Based on the nature of the coral planting activities you will be involved in, it is important to ensure your skill levels are up to the task. Coral planting requires both swimming skills as well as an aptitude for diving although one need not worry if the work is more focused on raising awareness or paperwork related.

5. Document Your Experience to Help Spread the Word
One of the best ways to take part in coral planting activities and make a lasting impact on the conservation efforts you have joined hands with is to think of innovative ways to document your journey and experience. Not only will a blog, Instagram album or YouTube vlog series entice more conscientious travellers to follow your example but it will also serve as one of the finest ways to keep a record of your travels and conservation efforts.