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Project ART.Reef: World’s first crowdfunded artificial reef

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Underwater sculptures in the service of science, environmental restoration and SCUBA divers

The University of Thessaly is planning on creating the world’s first crowdfunded artificial reef with underwater sculptures, as part of a big research project undertaken by the Department of Ichthyology & Aquatic Environment, with the code name “Project ART.Reef: Dive into Mythology”. The sculptures will follow a certain theme: the Mythological lore of Jason and his legendary Argonauts, which is strongly associated with the region of Thessaly and the city of Volos in particular. The objectives of this project are multifold, but the main goal is to evaluate if underwater sculptures can be utilized to help restore the marine environment, but at the same time, be used as a diving attraction too.

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The Crowdfunding campaign will stay active for the duration of the project, which is estimated 4 years, at least. “We are taking a big risk with Crowdfunding, but we are hoping that the online community will embrace our project” noted Dr. Lolas Alexios, the Project’s Coordinator, “We want people around the world, divers and non-divers alike, to feel involved in something big taking shape and know that their contribution, no matter how small, was the one that made the difference”.

The campaign begun unofficially almost a month ago, in order to test the mechanics of the generosity.com platform. But, today marks the official launch of the project, so the Campaign’s page is updated, up and running at:

https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/world-s-first-crowdfunded-artificial-reef

It should be noted that the project is inspired by the works of the famous sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor, creator of the first underwater sculpture park in the world, located off the west coast of Grenada and also, founder of Museo de Arte Subacuatico (MUSA), a monumental underwater museum with a large collection life-size sculptures, submerged off the coast of Cancun in Mexico. In the case of Project ART.Reef, the sculptures will be created, mainly, by local artists, in an attempt to promote and encourage the involvement of the local community with the project.

About Dr. Lolas

Dr. Alexios Lolas is a post-doc researcher in the Department of Ichthyology & Aquatic Environment. His research interests are the Biodiversity and Population Ecology of Marine Invertebrates. He is a certified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and a SCUBA aficionado in general. His passion for diving led to the concept of Project ART.Reef and he can’t wait to see it realized.

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