KZ: Hi Elijah! How did you become a 2022 CoralWatch Ambassador, and the first child Ambassador?
E: I had been doing a lot of work with CoralWatch, and found out that they were doing an ambassador course on Heron Island for four days. I applied, got accepted and it was really amazing; not only the snorkelling after learning and research, but also meeting amazing people that care about the environment and are passionate about the reef like me. At the end of the workshop they told me I would be a 2022 CoralWatch Ambassador – I was honoured and very excited.
KZ: What has been the highlight of your time as a 2022 ambassador so far?
E: Probably when I went to Heron Island to do the ambassador course, because of the amount of marine creatures there. It was incredible. There were shovel nose rays, sharks, sting rays, turtles and loads of other amazing creatures. One of the other really amazing things was the vibrantly coloured coral, there was just so much.
KZ: What else do you hope to achieve as an ambassador in 2022?
E: I'm hoping to educate more people about CoralWatch, the importance of reefs, and how special they are.
KZ: Can you share an interesting fact you have learned through your work?
E: Coral is actually an animal, a plant, and a mineral. The animal is a polyp, the plant is algae (called ‘zooxanthellae’), and the mineral is calcium carbonate which is the skeleton.
KZ: Are you part of any other projects or organisations?
E: Yes, I am an ambassador for Tangaroa Blue, which is a marine debris organisation that organises beach clean ups. They also have a database, so after a clean up they sort the rubbish into different groups and put it into the database. They can see how much rubbish there is, and sometimes where it has come from. I do a lot of beach cleans and we sort the rubbish and put the details of what we find into the database.
Want to read more of our interview with Elijah? Grab the June 2022 'Worlds Collide' issue, out now!