The Much Essential Coral Educator, Nicole Helgason

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Professional scuba diver Nicole Helgason frequently travels the world taking photos of corals and educating people about coral reefs. As Reef Builders’ event manager, Nicole is in charge of organizing the Reef Stock events in Sydney and Denver. Nicole manages the social media channels for Reef Builders and posts once a week to the Reef Builders website. She is a native of Vancouver, Canada, with a bachelor’s degree in coastal geography from the University of Victoria.

In 2006, she took her first scuba diving lessons. She was residing in the Dominican Republic at that time, and she fell in love with the tropical coral reef immediately.

One of her very first dives was just close to a nursery for coral reconstruction. And she realized at that time that she had no alternative but to dedicate her life to the water and safeguarding coral reefs.

She passed her IDC exam the next year and earned the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) dive instructor certification! Since then, she had the good fortune to travel the world while instructing divers, running dive shops, and raising awareness of coral reefs. Ten years after she became a PADI instructor, she feels really privileged to have the chance to share her work with the online PADI community at this point in her career.

Corals are the base of the marine ecosystem, offering fish with vital habitat, safeguarding coastlines from erosion, and supplying food to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. However, she frequently discovered that corals and the variety of coral species in particular, do not receive the respect they merit from scuba divers.

A decade of experience working in the dive industry led to this conclusion. According to what she has observed, huge fish and little animals are promoted by scuba divers, dive experts, and tour guides. Dive trips may advertise whale sharks, manta rays, and turtles in addition to bright nudibranchs, unidentified octopuses, and showy dancing shrimp. What about corals, though?

Coral reef is a general word that is frequently used to refer to all types of coral. However, this one word is simply too broad to describe a dynamic, diversified community that is home to hundreds of distinct species. Our understanding of the undersea environment will significantly improve as we begin to distinguish the characteristics that set each species apart and become proficient in a few.

She established her own blog with the intention of sharing about underwater adventures and raising awareness for coral reefs and scuba diving. This is how she named her website ReefDivers in an effort to create a community of divers who have a strong appreciation for corals. Her freshly released Caribbean Coral Identification guide is one of the projects she is most proud of. 

What drives Nicole forward is the opportunity to impart this insight and gift of seeing the reef through fresh eyes. She’d like to concentrate on teaching divers through her images how to find uncommon, odd, and distinctive coral species among the crowd in order to make gazing corals online and looking for them underwater fun experiences. Undoubtedly the most significant marine animal, corals deserve our attention.

Sakshi Bafna

Sakshi Bafna has completed her graduation in Business Administration and now completing her Masters in Journalism. Apart from being an aspiring graphic designer, her hobbies are to travel and she is an Ambivert.

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