Mother of Corals

CCR Batfish with coral trees

There are times in life when you feel you are being steered in a certain direction. You keep asking yourself, “is this a crazy idea?” but the steering continues and people magically drop into your life to support the navigation. The kind of thing I’m talking about doesn’t happen very often.

The last time I felt this was when I decided to move to Panama. The idea kept popping into my mind. I would scold myself: “That’s crazy.” I would go about my day, week, month – but more and more often it would present itself. Then people and ideas and help would drop into my life and I knew I had to follow this whim.

It’s happening again now.

Several months ago a man from another country contacted the org I work for, Caribbean Coral Restoration, interested in using our experience to partner in his home country and build an artificial reef. Doug, CCR owner, asked me if I would work with the man to dig into the details. The government of his island home has set aside a large sum of money to fund a handful of ecology projects with varying requirements in different categories. This man, name Dev, was interested in applying for the one that is a local business man teaming up with a project with proven success in another country.

I spent the last several months cultivating that relationship, teaching Dev about corals and artificial reefs, presenting to members of government, oceanographers and the fisheries department there – always in the middle of the night to accommodate their time zone. All the while I could tell Doug was not completely comfortable with entering into a contract on the other side of the planet for a project he would never be in person for, rightfully so. The project was not something that falls under the mission of his organization.

In April I told a friend my idea of branching on my own to take on this project. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could do this in places all over the world? She agreed it would be. Soon after that conversation, her boyfriend reached out to me. The two of them were both furloughed due to COVID-19 and a condition of furlough was that they couldn’t make an income anywhere else. They were both excited to volunteer to help me get this idea off the ground. Imagine my shock, and delight.

First things first. I needed to present my idea to Doug and hope for his blessing. My idea was to open my own nonprofit and subcontract CCR for a few things. Then I could teach a team of local people to build artificial reefs, grow coral on them and help it become a tourist/education attraction – infusing money into the economy. My coworkers at CCR are all supportive of the idea, including Doug. Wow, this is really happening!

About a year ago I was giving a tour of our project and talking to the group about how we grow corals while swimming in our nursery. When I was done talking one guy said, “Wow, you’re the mother of corals.” I absolutely loved it. I felt so proud when he said that and it stuck in my mind ever since. As soon as I had the idea to start my own thing, I knew right away that this would be my business name.

It’s been about six weeks and Mother of Corals Inc. is a registered nonprofit with a bank account and Board of Directors. We even wrote our bylaws which is the most painstaking thing you can imagine. Dev’s government just opened back up and we’re rolling with the application process again. It’s another leap of faith but I’m not scared of those anymore. I know I’m on the right track – I’m sure of it.

More details soon!

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