Happy Small Business Saturday, Friends! I'm so happy to introduce this year's small business, The Reef Institute! As many of you have read in my recent emails, I am donating part of the profits of all of my Loggerhead Sea Turtle classic totes and sandwich baggies for the month of December. I hope you enjoy learning more about all of their great programs today and consider donating in the many ways mentioned or through the purchase of a bag.
Thank you, Mo Belanger, for representing The Reef Institute today!
Tell us a little bit about Reef Institute and how it started.
While I have only had the honor of being apart of this organization for a year, The Reef Institute (TRI) was founded in 2016 as “Healthy Aquatics Marine Institute of Florida” with a goal of improving ocean health while teaching students to care about their environment. In 2018, with the reality of Florida’s coral reefs in severe decline, Healthy Aquatics changed its name and identity to “The Reef Institute.” It was a natural change since the decision had already been made to move the organization towards coral conservation. The Reef Institute is on a mission of coral conservation through education, research and restoration. Our audacious vision is simple: We save the ocean. To do this, we believe we must start with saving our coral. Located in the Northwood District of West Palm Beach,TRI believes we must take a multifaceted approach of treating education, research and restoration equally. Our education endeavors reach over 9,000 people annually. As part of the Florida Coral Rescue Project, we are holding over 140 colonies of rescued coral. Our restoration efforts involve rearing juvenile corals that will be used to repopulate the ocean. Currently, TRI stands as the singular coral conservation non-profit with a focus on Palm Beach County first, and the Caribbean beyond.
Happy Fall, friends! I know I'm not the only one who has been busy reinventing themselves throughout the last year and a half. Even though things are still far from normal, I feel like the old is falling away and the new will be even more beautiful. What about you?
"An artist cannot fail: it is a success just to be one." - Charles Horton Colley
Within the last several months, I've been keenly aware of the struggles of artists as business owners. My own struggles, but especially those just starting out. If it wasn't for all of you and your support, I know I wouldn't be where I am today. You've seen me through the last 8 years of successes and obstacles, and a great opportunity to mentor others on their own journeys has recently come up.
Taking care of our coast and ocean has always been important to Teddy and I. Now we take it even more seriously as we strive to live off the land and sea, simultaneously building a family and community that also works toward this goal of sustainability. Thank you for being part of our journey and community! I made this Coat of Arms for our own family and beyond, to remind all of us to “Be wise to what is good.”
The rest of the verse in Romans says “and innocent of evil,” which convicts me not to spend too much of my time reading about the craziness of the world (just enough to not be living under a rock). After all, the change that we all want to see isn’t going to happen on social media, it’s clear. The change starts in our own homes and our communities, so focus on making them full of love, joy and goodness, and it will spread faster than Covid.
For Small Business Saturday, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Melissa Gil the owner and founder of MG Surfline. We met on a panel during Plastic Free July and immediately hit it off. She’s a successful momtreprenuer, athlete and all around nice person!
Melissa, please tell us your story.
My story begin with a love for the ocean that runs so deep, it has become the driving force behind everything I do in my life, on a personal level and on a business level with our purpose-driven eco-conscious brand, MG Surfline.
I grew up in Costa Rica, and as long as I can remember I was always drawn to the ocean. Born with webbed feet and my last name being Gil, people often joke that the only thing I am missing is actual gills.