One of Los Altos High School’s newest student groups, the Coral Reef Conservancy Project (CRCP), has set some lofty goals, including trying to help pass H.R.241, a federal bill that would provide monetary incentives for countries to fund nature conservation.
“Originally, it was all just science-based, but we brought the government point of view into the club,” said CRCP co-president Simran Gupta, a junior. “We’re trying to get endorsements from other organizations and support from legislators.”
The idea for the club came from junior Medha Rajagopalan, who said she wanted to start a student organization to help the environment. After reaching out to Gupta, who has experience in government work, the two put the idea into action.
“I’m really, really interested in coral reefs, and so I started this project to raise awareness about it,” Rajagopalan said.
Founded in March, the club now boasts over 20 members.
“If everyone wants to make an impact, and if all those people are working together, that can be enough,” Rajagopalan said.
The club’s efforts to support H.R.241 – which recently passed in the House of Representatives and is expected to head to the Senate later this year – involve outreach. Club members said they have been reaching out to individuals and organizations, asking them to endorse what’s also known as the Tropical Forest and Coral Reef Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2021. The club already has garnered endorsements from the Coral Reef Alliance, an environmental nongovernmental organization headquartered in Oakland, and have met with Los Altos Mayor Neysa Fligor.
“It was a pleasure to meet with the Los Altos High Coral Reef Conservancy Club and hear about the wonderful things they are working on,” Fligor said. “Their passion for coral reef conservation is contagious and inspiring.”
The mayor added that she hopes the students continue to work with the city’s Environmental Commission and other groups in the area to combat climate change.
The club has science, outreach and social media teams, and members offer to give short presentations at other schools in the area about coral bleaching. Caused by climate change and rising ocean temperatures, coral bleaching results in the death of coral and coral reef ecosystems.
“Coral reefs have really been impacted these past few years, and it’s sad how no one knew what was going on and the implications of that,” said CRCP secretary Hannah Choi, a junior.
Three more branches of CRCP are set to start up in the fall at other Bay Area high schools.
After H.R.241 reaches the Senate, the students said they plan to host a cross-school convention with professional speakers to discuss coral reef conservation.
Until then, it’s the little things that count when it comes to the environment, according to sophomore Alyssa Manche, the club’s social media manager.
“One of the largest things anyone can do is anything small, like conserving water while you’re in the shower or using coral-friendly sunscreen,” Manche said. “Also, just educate yourself about what is happening – learning and then taking action.”
For more information on CRCP and H.R.241, visit coralconservancy-crcp.weebly.com.