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Kralendijk, Bonaire (May XX, 2011) – Fourteen students from Florida Keys Community College will spend a week on Bonaire from June 4-11, 2011 earning three semester credit hours at the sophomore level in a course entitled “Applications of Marine Science: Assessing Coral Reef Habitats” which will teach methods for assessing and monitoring coral reef health. The course will be evenly split between in-class lectures/discussions and practical field activities and will provide students with the opportunity to study and explore Bonaire’s renowned underwater environment.

 

Teaching the class will be FKCC Professor of Marine Science Dr. Alex Brylske who is a thirty year veteran of the dive industry and highly respected authority on marine and undersea technology education. He is the recipient of NOAA’s prestigious Walter B. Jones Memorial Excellence Award for Ocean and Coastal Resource Management and, along with his full-time faculty position at FKCC, serves as the Sr. Editor of Dive Training Magazine.

 

In responding to the question of why Bonaire was chosen, Dr. Brylske said, “Bonaire has some of the healthiest coral reefs in the Caribbean, making it an ideal locale for studying the science of reef assessment. In addition, it’s home to one of the best known and managed marine parks in the tropical world, which is one reason its reefs are still in relatively good shape compared to the rest of the region. Accessible shore diving is a third reason we chose Bonaire, as this will make our diving activities more convenient and efficient.”

 

This will not be the first time Dr. Brylske has chosen Bonaire as a teaching site. In May of 1999, Dr. Brylske, then the Training Manager for the Coral Reef alliance (CORAL) where his responsibilities included developing and conducting educational programs, chose Bonaire to be the inaugural location for his Marine Resource Management Course. Since the successful prototype in Bonaire, the course has been rolled out throughout North America, the Caribbean basin and in Southeast Asia.  

 

In keeping with his beliefs on the importance of building alliances between government and non-government organizations and between tourism operators and resource managers in the greater effort to protect the health of the coral reefs, Dive Training Magazine presented two fully paid scholarships to the 2011 Summer Field Course to STINAPA. Additionally, on Tuesday, June 7, Dr. Brylske will open one of his evening class sessions to the general public. The 90 minute presentation, “Coral Reefs in the Modern World” will be presented in the conference room at Captain Don’s Habitat and will explore the status of the reefs worldwide.

 

Located eighty-six miles east of Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire offers year-round sunshine, low annual rainfall, pristine coral formations and the most thriving fish population in the Caribbean. Ideal for adventurers, explorers and sun-worshippers alike, Bonaire offers myriad eco-adventure activities including world renowned scuba diving and snorkeling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, mountain biking, sea and mangrove kayaking, horseback riding, landsailing, nature tours, hiking, bird watching, sailing and deep sea and bone fishing. And with a selection of accommodations ranging from full-service oceanfront resorts and condominiums to guesthouses and small inns, Bonaire has something for every lifestyle and budget.

 

Bonaire is the recipient of the prestigious Islands Magazine/Caribbean Tourism Organization 2008 Sustainable Tourism Award and continues to be recognized as one of the top destinations worldwide for its sustainable tourism and as one of the top diving destinations in the Atlantic/Caribbean for nine years in a row in the Scuba Diving magazine’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards. It was designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as having the healthiest reefs in the Caribbean (January 2008), and as the Favorite Dive Destination in the World by About.com (June, 2008).

For more information on Bonaire contact the Tourism Corporation Bonaire in the U.S. at 1-800-BONAIRE or visit Bonaire’s official web site at www.tourismbonaire.com. Follow Bonaire on Twitter and Facebook.

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