An innovative "pay it forward" program allows guests of Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel and Resort in Marathon the option to donate $1 per night during their stay to the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo, whose replanting efforts are helping grow new corals along the Middle Keys' reef system.
A recent addition to Marathon's accommodations offerings, the family-owned hotel has pledged to match guest donations and 100 percent of monthly contributions are donated directly to CRF. The Glunz family launched the partnership with CRF in the form of a $10,000 donation.
Efforts began when 400 staghorn corals were planted approximately two miles off the shoreline of the resort, a site that has been dubbed "Glunz Reef" locally, although the name is not included on any nautical charts of the area.
Part of the resort's overall philosophy is to reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible.
"We believe in saving our waters for future fishing and these habitats are vital to the health of the ocean and its marine life," said Chrysse Langley, the resort's general manager. "We are very low key, but offer the opportunity to every guest to participate."
More replanting projects are planned this spring and summer at the Middle Keys reef site. Local and visiting volunteers who are certified divers are welcome to assist in the program. Interested divers can contact the Coral Restoration Foundation Education Center at 305-453-7030.
Led by CRF's founder and director Ken Nedimyer, marine scientists at the Key Largo nonprofit have been successful at re-establishing sexually mature coral colonies that can reproduce and repopulate Keys reefs. To learn more about the Coral Restoration Foundation's efforts, visit www.coralrestoration.org.
Located at 351 East Ocean Drive in Marathon's Key Colony Beach, Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel and Resort celebrated its grand opening in early 2014. The reopening following two years of extensive renovations to rooms and suites as well as a heated pool, private beach, fitness room and more. For more details about the hotel, visit glunzoceanbeachhotel.com.