PR Log - Jan 30, 2013 - ST. CROIX, USVI – Caribbean jewelry studio,ib Designs, announced this week that its Elkhorn Collection fundraiser initiative has raised $1,500 since May 2012. A portion of the proceeds from this coral-inspired jewelry collection benefits The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Coral Restoration Program.
Kris Massicott, owner of ib Designs, said her customers often perceive the custom jewelry design as the “tree of life” and that is exactly what the federally-endangered elkhorn and staghorn coral is in the sea.
“These coral species are the foundation of our reef-building species throughout the Caribbean,” Massicott said. “We were excited to launch it and we are thrilled with the success of the program in such a short period of time. People love the design.”
The Coral Restoration Project itself has been a success, said TNC’s Kemit-Amon Lewis.
"The funding ib Designs generates for coral restoration in the USVI will help us with our maintenance of the nurseries and monitoring of transplanted corals,” said Lewis, Coral Conservation Manager with The Nature Conservancy. “But the outreach and public awareness that we have received from ib and their collection also benefits the program.”
Through the program, elkhorn and staghorn coral, previously broken from large hurricane or storm waves, are rescued and is cultivated in underwater nurseries. The TNC team maintains and monitors the nurseries, using funds from sources including ib Design’s elkhorn collection.
“Last winter, we transplanted just over 1,000 corals onto seven sites on St. Croix and St. Thomas. At those sites, we are still observing 97 to 100% survivorship of those corals transplanted,” he said, adding, “We are also observing rapid growth rates, which is very promising for the project and the corals with which we work.”
Lewis also said, “Coral reef conservation doesn’t end here though. We have more work to do, especially on the threats we can control.”
Controllable threats that result in damage to the coral populations include discharges into the ocean, pollution in our coastal environment – which includes the entire landscape of the small US Virgin Islands, physical damage to reef by boats, anchors, and divers, and unsustainable use of our marine resources.
“If we tackle these issues, we will help to make coral reefs more resilient to climate change – better able to adapt and to survive,” Lewis said. “I am personally very excited about the work that we are doing in the USVI and it is very humbling that others (including ib Designs) are also excited about our work; enough to support its continuation.”
Massicott said ib Designs will continue the fundraising program indefinitely to support the restoration project, which she views as critical to our fragile oceanic ecosystem. She encouraged the support of the program through TNC directly or with the purchase of the elkhorn design, which is available in gold and silver as a bracelet, cord bracelet, ring, pendant and earrings.