CoralGardening volunteer Steven in the spot lights

I’m Steven Elfring, 55 years young and I live in Rotterdam with Karin. My main job is being a project and interim manager at (mostly) governmental institutes.

I’m from the Jacques Cousteau and Bert Haanstra generation. Watching nature documentaries in black and white. Somewhat “forced” because my mother used to live nextdoors to Bert Haanstra when she was young.

But these afternoons were when that little seed was planted that has now grown out to my appreciation of and respect for nature. It surely has had some consequences.


I got my diving certificate about 10 years ago prior to a vacation. I have dived in many places in the Netherlands and abroad ever since and am no stranger to the Vinkeveense Plassen, Oosterschelde, Norwegian fjords, Austrian mountain lakes and even Malawi, Chinese and Ecuadorian waters. It is beautiful everywhere! Diving is like being in a pure world where you have a complete freedom of movement.

Running is another passion besides diving. It’s great to go outside and keep in shape by just walking or running. It’s like diving; you start with too much air and end with too little ;).

My days are not only filled with my “normal” job, but also tasks for my “owners association” and some diving instruction work. And because we have recently started teaching deaf people, I have begun an introductory course Dutch sign language. My evenings are spend reading and listening to all kinds of books and music, interspersed with theatre and the occasional movie. Karin and I recently visited the “David Bowie is…” exposition in Groningen. While I’m not a big fan, it was a somewhat sentimental journey.

The next moment, you’re asked to take upon you the honorable job of the CoralGardening treasurer. It took some consideration, but it feels like one giant “YES” for my passion for nature and the responsibility for financial organisation of CoralGardening ánd for Vera and Frank, so that they can make their (and our) dreams come true in Thailand. It feels like the right thing to do, it is an important job and I will just go for it. Together with Vera, Frank and all other volunteers I work towards a fantastic goal!

See you soon!