Wednesday 28th February,
2007 Posted: 17:03 CIT (22:03
The Marriott Beach Resort is working in collaboration with the
Department of Environment and the visiting US–based Reef Ball
Foundation in an effort to protect and restore Cayman’s spectacular
Reef Ball Foundation nursery workers Catherine Jadot, left,
Emily Manz and Joe Lazarsky transplant young coral into tiny
cups to be placed in reef balls by divers. Photo: Jewel
This effort is largely in response to the damage caused by
Hurricane Ivan and seeks to rehabilitate near shore habitats that
were lost, a press release notes. The future of the island is
largely dependant on the accountability of our local community, it
“We are thrilled to host the Reef Ball Foundation representatives
and to have the opportunity to be involved in such a worth–while
cause. As a community it is essential that we step up to the plate
and take responsibility for the future of our island,” said Carolina
Voullieme, the Marriott’s Director of Sales and Marketing.
The Reef Ball Foundation is a non–profit organisation dedicated
to restoring waters and natural reef ecosystems. Through
preservation, Reef ball technology and innovative public education
projects they aspire to protect the natural reefs.
Todd Barber, CEO of The Reef Ball Foundation, has been diving
Grand Cayman’s reefs for over 20 years and invented “reef balls” –
modular artificial reefs – in response to damage caused by hurricane
Gilbert in 1988.
Reef balls have now been used in over 55 countries. His goal in
starting the foundation 13 years ago was to ensure that his children
can continue to enjoy the same reefs that continue to captivate him
The Marriott’s management team and associates have been learning
about the core foundations of this effort, and as such, Marriott has
come to recognise that community involvement is paramount to its
“It is crucial that we educate locals regarding how to protect
our environment and ensure that the natural beauty of our island is
preserved for generations to follow,” said Marriott’s Director of
Operations, Panna Utpaul.
Representatives from the foundation are being complimentarily
accommodated at the Marriott Beach Resort for the duration of their
stay on island from of 25 February through 4 March. While on island
they have a challenging agenda to accomplish. They will be building
reef balls for Cayman’s mangroves as well as educating the public
how they can contribute to restoring the waters and natural reef
They are appealing to any volunteer support that they can receive
in this effort. On Tuesday, they began filling the molds for the
reef balls on the Marriott property by the pool and they welcome and
encourage guests and locals alike to join in.
This presents guests staying at the Marriott the opportunity to
get involved in a guest programme oriented on topical environmental
themes as well as to participate in the casting of reef balls.
On Friday, 2 March the Marriott will be hosting a presentation by
the Reef Ball Foundation experts to inform the community about
projects under way, as well as to educate the public about how to
restore local marine ecosystems.
This presentation will be hosted in Balboa’s Lounge located in
Marriott’s main lobby area on Friday 2 March at 5pm. There will be
complimentary refreshments provided for those in attendance at the
“This is a fabulous opportunity to create public awareness which
is crucial in ensuring that our ecosystem is protected. Knowledge is
power,” said Ms Voullieme.
A collective community effort is a surefire tool in the right
direction to preserve reefs, says the