Team

Frank and Vera founded CoralGardening from their passion for the preservation of marine ecosystems and their love with coral reefs. They discovered their shared passion for the ocean when they worked on several marine conservation projects in Thailand and the Philippines.

Arjan Blaauw

Pasfoto Arjan Blaauw-s







Marketing expert
As a fanatic sports diver I enjoy coral reefs during my vacations on many exotic locations around the world. Sadly I too have seen the damage on some reefs and heard the alarming stories in the media. Thankfully I can make a positive contribution to the health of reefs around the world through CoralGardening.
Emiel van der Woerdt

Pasfoto Bart Boomstra-s











Technical advisor
I have a background in engineering and Frank and Vera regularly throw construction issues on my plate, which I like to solve. We have hours of brainstorming sessions on how we can improve the project and what we can change. At the same time I learn more about coral and artificial reefs from Frank and Vera. But not only that. Frank and Vera inspire people to think further.

Building an artificial reef is cool and fun to do, but it is very small part of the solution.
Inspired by building the CoralGarden, I started thinking about what I can do to improve our ocean. Personally, I think that awareness, raising people about what happens to our ocean and our world, is important. Based on that idea, I am now working on a presentation for Thai school children to teach them what happens to our ocean.
Esmee Bannenberg



Pasfoto Esmee Bannenberg-s











Biologist
My name is Esmee and I am currently 21 years old. I met Frank and Vera about two years ago during a meeting of my other voluntary work at the Sea First Foundation, and I was immediately convinced by their enthusiasm. During my study forest and nature conservation I’ve learnt a lot about the degradation of nature and at the same time how important natural processes are for both animals and humans. The way how CoralGardening works together with local people appeals to me and is, in my opinion, a sustainable way to restore natural areas. Consequently, I try to help CoralGardening wherever I can and strengthen the CoralGardening team in The Netherlands. Currently I am specializing, through following a master’s degree at Wageningen University, in the science of how to combine nature conservation and local development in third world countries to create a sustainable future.
Floor Schepers



Secretary
As a dive professional I have worked from Indonesia to Costa Rica and have seen first hand how amazing our marine eco system is! There is nothing that beats diving amidst an abundance of fish and rays whilst looking for nudibranchs, harlequinshrimp and frogfish. Being able to show these creatures to people who have just started diving, and by doing that passing on knowledge about the marine ecosystem is one of the things that I have always considered one of the most important jobs of a dive pro. Now that I am back on land for a while I want to keep on raising awareness of how beautiful, but also how fragile the marine ecosystem is, and how we can help to keep it healthy. CoralGardening for me is a way of staying in touch with the oceans. Through the work that Vera and Frank are doing I can contribute to raising awareness, educating and hopefully preserving the amazing ecosystem the ocean is for future generations!
Frank van Klaveren
Pasfoto Frank van Klaveren-s











Founder
Coral reefs are the most beautiful natural systems I know. As a “fun” diver reefs are a wonderful world full of colors and fish already. But when you learn about all the interactions between fish, corals and other life, reefs become even more breath taking. Especially when you can do your own thing to help restore and build new reefs. Then every dive is like a gift. Watch out! Building coral reefs is addictive!
Inge Aarden

Pasfoto Inge Aarden-s










Commercial and artistic consultant
I first learned about underwater nature on Bonaire in 1998. I am amazed and was very impressed by all the beauty under water. I have seen the disastrous consequences for coral of human actions and climate change. That is why I would like to contribute to the CoralGardening project, one of the goals is to create sttues that are interesting for divers, fish and coral.

Besides my work as a teacher, I am also a ceramist. By creating images of clay in workshops with children, I want to contribute to the awareness of children, because they are the future. Their creativity also contributes to ideas for new statues.
Ingrid van Beek



Tropical Marine Ecologist
After 12 years of humanitarian work in the Netherlands and abroad I changed my career and obtained a MSc degree in Tropical Marine Ecology. I was driven by a passion for diving, and growing concerns about the degradation of coral reefs, which I witnessed in Egypt where I was temporarily working as a dive master. During and after my studies I worked for WWF, Blue Ventures, IVM and Wageningen Marine Research on various topics. My initial interest was on economic valuation of coral reef ecosystem services and MPAs, later on my work shifted to applied ecological research of fisheries and ocean acidification impacts, fish and coral monitoring, and endangered species protection plans.
I contribute to the work of CoralGardening because I believe in the importance of habitat enhancement and I like the truly innovative approach of CoralGardening to combine coral restoration with adding cultural and touristic value to restoration sites.
Steven Elfring

Steven Elfring
Treasurer
Protecting the reefs and especially the corals deserve everybody’s attention. Becoming a diver 10 years ago made my world at least twice as big. Every time I dive I am surprised by the beauty diversity of life in the underwater world. I’ve seen vibrant corals but also reefs where the coral is badly damaged.

CoralGardening is the organization that is restoring and building corals hands-on. It is educating people about the importance of protecting the corals by building beautiful structures on which coral cuttings can grow on, to become wonderful coral reefs again!

It makes me happy and proud to be a part of this foundation.
Vera Aarden

Pasfoto Vera Aarden-s










Co-founder
In 2008 we built our first artificial reef to attract fish. We saw how quickly nature colonized this new habitat and started equalizing the balance in that particular reef. It was very satisfying work and it motivated me to do more conservation and restoration work under water. During our quest to realise sustainable reef system we discovered a completely new method of restoration that we want to share with the world through CoralGardening. Because coral reefs need our support on so many locatioins. I would love to pass this beautiful underwater world on to the next generations, that have not even seen its beauty yet.
Willem Nieuwint



Technical Consultant
My name is Willem and I live in Spijkenisse, Netherlands. Pretty much my whole life I'm very concerned about the earth and how we treat her. That's why I decided a number of years ago to do my own little bit to help with the conservation of nature and oceans. Through my volunteering work in another organisation, I came into contact with Frank and Vera from CoralGardening, whom I kept following from then on. Meanwhile, I finished the first part of work on their project in Thailand.
With my technical background, I hope I can make a useful contribution to the work of CoralGardening, creating artificial reefs who help restore the world's coral reefs.
You?
Pasfoto Vraagteken-s
Do you also think that healthy coral reefs are important? Do you want to join us with building and restoring coral reefs? You can!

We can use all the help we can get. You can contribute by donating your time and skills. We are looking for people who are good at setting up a webshop, networking and recruiting donations. Get in contact with us by sending an email.