Coral Crochet

Help raise awareness on the impact waterways in Ohio have on coral reefs around the world through the creation of a community art piece. Participants with rudimentary crochet skills are invited to help create coral pieces that will be made into a crochet coral reef and displayed this summer at the Exploration Gateway at Sippo Lake Park. Example pieces will be made available, but there will not be a formal teacher. The last day of piece collection will be July 1, 2022.

Ways to be involved in the project!

1. Donate scrap yarn for the project. Drop off boxes can be found at the Exploration Gateway at Sippo Lake Park and various Stark County District Library locations (Lake Community Library, Jackson Community Library, Main Library, DeHoff Memorial Library), Rodman Public Library in Alliance, and New Vision Church, 3129 Market Ave., Canton 44714. Finished corals can be left at each of the libraries listed above.

2. Attend these programs and work on the project in a group setting. Bring your scrap yarn, tools, and enjoy getting to know other people while contributing to the unique project. A representative from the Ohio Ocean Foundation will have a table with information about corals and our waterways. **Please note that these are not how-to instructional classes. We will provide examples, but previous crocheting experience is needed.

May 18, 4 to 6 p.m., Exploration Gateway, 5712 12th St. NW, Canton 44708
June 22, 4 to 6 p.m., Exploration Gateway, 5712 12th St. NW, Canton 44708

3. Share with your crochet groups as a project or work on your own. Just fill out the number of hours you have spent on the project using this form!

More about Corals

Corals are one of the most diverse organisms of the ocean, and support some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. They’re found in waters all over the world with vastly varying conditions like deep and shallow waters, warm and cold waters, light and dark waters, and so much more. Corals obtain their color from teeny microscopic algae that live on them, known as zooxanthellae. The coral and the zooxanthellae share a symbiotic relationship. They live in what’s known as mutualism, meaning both the coral and the zooxanthellae benefit mutually from each other, and rely on one another for survival.

However, in recent years the environment of the ocean has changed faster than the organisms in the ocean can adapt. As the ocean gets warmer, this puts stress on the coral, causing the coral to push away the algae. As the algae leaves the coral, what’s left behind is the coral with no color, giving off the look of being “bleached”. It’s critical for the survivability of the coral that the ocean doesn’t get any warmer. Even a 2 degrees Fahrenheit change in temperature can cause the algae to never return to the coral, and the coral dies. Once corals die, they rarely come back.

With the rate of corals dying off and their difficulty to reproduce, we’re facing deterioration of an entire ecosystem of organisms that people and wildlife severely depend on. They provide an ecological service to thousands of marine animals by providing shelter, often times for survival and protection. They’re also used as spawning grounds, and support organisms at the base of the food chain, which helps to feed every single animal above them. Without corals, the entire food chain is in trouble. The loss of corals also means we face threats to our own safety. Corals act as an invaluable natural barrier which absorb and lessen the impacts of waves.

Warming temperatures is the main cause of bleaching algae, but it’s not the only cause. Low tides, pollution, and increased amounts on sunlight that cause heat damage are other huge threats to coral around the world. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, between 2014 and 2017 it’s estimated that 75% of the world’s tropical coral reefs experienced heat-stress significant enough to trigger coral bleaching. For 30%, that heat-stress was enough to kill the coral.