BREEF’s Sculpture Garden Marks a Decade of Coral Reef Restoration

Nassau, The Bahamas – April 22, 2024 – In celebration of Earth Day, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) proudly commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden and Coral Nursery (CRSG), as a testament to a decade of unwavering commitment to marine conservation and environmental stewardship.

Established in 2014, the BREEF Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden stands as a beacon of hope and resilience, embodying the intersection of art, education, and conservation. Conceived as a living art gallery and underwater classroom, the CRSG has flourished into a thriving ecosystem, fostering the growth of coral, fish, and invertebrates while serving as a vital educational resource for both locals and visitors. 

The brainchild of Bahamian artist Willicey Tynes, the CRSG was brought to life through a collaboration with renowned sculptors Jason DeCaires Taylor and Andret John. Three breathtaking sculptures—Ocean Atlas (Taylor), Virtuoso Man (Tynes), and Lucayan Face (John)—now grace the ocean floor, alongside sixty-six reef balls, each providing structure to help sustain the rich biodiversity of the area.

At the heart of the CRSG stands Ocean Atlas, the largest underwater statue in the world, 18 feet tall and weighing 60 tonnes. Ocean Atlas depicts a Bahamian girl holding the future of the ocean on her shoulders,  and symbolises a call to protect our oceans for future generations. These sculptures pay homage to both the natural beauty and cultural heritage of The Bahamas.

In addition to installing the sculptures in 2014,  in 2015 BREEF installed coral propagation units within the garden, and has been growing corals in an underwater coral nursery at the site ever since. This coral nursery serves as a flagship site for coral propagation and restoration that has been replicated around the country. Endangered staghorn coral is grown  suspended in the water column, and these fragments are later outplanted on adjacent reefs to restore diversity and structural complexity. 

Coral reefs are vital underwater ecosystems that provide food and shelter to an incredible diversity of marine life including key species such as the Nassau grouper, queen conch, and spiny

lobster. Coral reefs are also the nation’s first line of defence against storms and hurricanes, breaking up to 97% of wave energy before it reaches land.  Coral reefs in The Bahamas and around the world are facing catastrophic bleaching due to warming waters from  climate change. In addition to coral bleaching, coral reefs are also impacted by pollution from land and physical damage from boat anchors and ship groundings, especially in heavily trafficked areas such as around Western New Providence. 

The CRSG is located in the waters off Clifton Heritage Park and within Southwest Marine Managed Area and it is intended to serve as a sanctuary for marine life, and a beacon of hope for coral restoration initiatives.

As BREEF celebrates this significant milestone, it reaffirms its commitment to promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment for future generations. The CRSG stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and conservation in safeguarding our precious marine ecosystems.

Join BREEF in celebrating Earth Day and the 10-year anniversary of the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden by visiting to learn more about how you can contribute to ocean conservation efforts.

Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture sits at the heart of BREEF’s Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (Photo by Shane Gross)

BREEF coral nursery at  Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (Photo by Shane Gross)

Outplanted coral at the BREEF Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (photo by Shane Gross)

Bleached coral during the summer 2023 underwater heatwave. (photo by Michael Freifelds)

Spotted Eaglerays swim beside Ocean Atlas and a reef ball sculptures at CRSG (Photo by Michael Freifelds)
Virtuoso Man sculpture at CRSG (Photo by Shane Gross)
BREEF has taken thousands of students snorkelling at the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden

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