Community, Environment, Latest News

WVBG gardener: ‘Take action now’ to help environment

Some coral reefs on Maui struggle

By David P. Davis

While a fall chill has hit Appalachia, I have taken a “bucket-list” trip to Hawaii to take in the warmth of the Islands, and enjoy my days snorkeling with fish and corals.

After a snorkeling trip in a bay on Lanai, I was disturbed by how many of the corals in shallow water (less than 15 feet) are dead, with only skeletons remaining. At greater depths, there seemed to be healthy corals, but still, my heart ached to see what was once a coral garden struggling due to global warming induced bleaching events.

It turns out, Hawaii had a series of coral bleaching events in 2014, 2015 and 2019. I am sure each took their toll, with warmer water causing the coral to expel their symbiotic bacteria and subsequently die.

However, at another location, the Black Rock Beach on Maui, I saw a very healthy population of cauliflower and antler corals. This has given me at least some hope that our coral reefs will be able to come-back from bleaching events as long as humanity takes action to stall global warming.

After seeing a healthy reef and one that has been bleached, I know I will do everything I can to support efforts to neutralize global warming trends.

I hope you can join me to enjoy nature and take action to protect our environment. It is a tragedy that our oceans and reefs are in jeopardy. We need to take action now to ensure that future generations can appreciate all that nature provides and not just reflect on “what was.”

David P. Davis, Ph.D., is a gardener at the WVBG. For visiting information, maps, and more, visit

A Barred filefish