Coral Reef Playing Cards Capture Nationwide Audiences


Horizon International’s Magic Porthole coral reef playing cards with intriguing, fun photographic mirror-images are providing a new chance to explore life in coral reefs.

   Horizon International’s Magic Porthole coral reef playing cards with intriguing, fun photographic mirror-images are providing a new chance to explore life in coral reefs.  Launched in December in advance of the international Year of the Reef (IYOR) 2008, the cards, printed in the United States, are being sold by museums, aquaria and a wide variety of outlets and can be purchased from the Web at


            Prowling barracuda, shrimp and goby fish working together for survival, a frogfish dangling a lure to catch his prey, clown fish securing themselves in anemones, a cleaner shrimp cleaning the teeth of a Morey eel, and corals in their closed daytime posture and at night when their polyps full of water make their tentacles fan out to catch plankton are among the 52 unique pictures on both versions of the decks of cards. 


            The cards and the Magic Porthole Web site are the first of many multimedia and multifaceted features that are being created to engage children and adults in entertaining ways while challenging them to make discoveries about the fascinating and fragile world of coral reefs and other ocean life and encouraging action to help save coral reef life, from choices of sea food to eat to reducing Global Climate Change.


            The card backs feature a design with five creatures of the reef, grouper, boxing crab, clownfish, emperor fish, and moray eel, artistically rendered by Sasha Meret and chosen by coral reef experts. These experts relied in party on Linda Jarvin, Associate Director, and her colleagues at PACE (Psychology of Ability, Competencies, and Expertise Center) at Tufts U. (formerly at Yale). These “First Collector’s Edition” cards feature photographs by Jan Post in mirrored designs by Sasha Meret along with joker photographs by Captain Tim Taylor.










             One version of the cards has all the same backs so they can be used to play favorite card games.



              The other version has backs with information about the species pictured so they can be used for memory games and flash cards. 








All the images match those of the “Magic Porthole™ Coral Reef Memory Game” on the Web at which also have video clips of coral reef life.        


In addition to the card game the Magic Porthole Web site has resources from NOAA/National Ocean Science, coral reef exhibits and environment achievement contests.  Features are being continuously added with the help of collaborating institutions which include the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science, Boston, the Smithsonian Institution Ocean Hall and Ocean Portal, the Field Museum of Chicago and many others. 


            In the resources section of the Web site, one can learn for example, that coral reefs are home to an estimated 25 % of all marine species and that the impairment of the reefs causes fish that are a part of people’s everyday diet, to be lost. 


           “As we discover the intricate interconnected life in coral reefs, we can better appreciate how many forms of life depend on each other for survival,” said Janine Selendy, Horizon International’s Chairman and President.

             Among the museums and stores carrying the cards are COSI (Center Of Science and Industry) in Columbus, Ohio, The Field Museum in Chicago, Florida Aquarium, Museum of Science in Boston, Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Phoenix Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, South Carolina Aquarium Store, Butters Fine Food and Wine in Concord, NH, Shine: An Aveda Salonspa in Ridgefield, CT, and Wal-Mart, Norwalk, among other places. Proceeds from the sale of cards will be used for Horizon’s Magic Porthole program to, as the card boxes say, “Help Save Coral Reefs.”


            Many experts serve on the Magic Porthole Advisory Board including Walter H. Adey, Ph.D., Director, Marine Systems Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution; Gordon Cragg, Ph.D., former Chief, Natural Products Branch, National Cancer Institute; Sylvia A. Earle, Ph.D., Oceanographer, former Chief Scientist of NOAA, explorer, author, and lecturer, Founder and Chairman of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc., Explorer in Residence and Leader of the Sustainable seas Expeditions at the National Geographic Society; David Ellis, Ph.D., former Director, Boston Museum of Science; William Fenical, Ph.D., Director, Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; David Gelernter, Professor of Computer Science at Yale University; Carl-Gustaf Lundin, Head, IUCN Global Marine Programme; Peter R. Haje, former General Counsel and Executive Vice President Time-Warner; and Gus Speth, Dean, Yale Forestry and Environmental Studies.  Numerous young people serve as advisors.


            Magic Porthole has thus far made possible by a Planning Grant from The National Science Foundation, many supporters for filming in Bonaire, individuals, foundations, and substantial contributions of talent and services.   


            The card launch came in Advance of the International Year of the Reef 2008 (IYOR) to help raise awareness, generate enthusiasm, and inspire ideas to protect reefs. The IYOR Web page at describes IYOR as a “a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and threats to their sustainability, and to motivate people to take action to protect them.”  It invites, “All individuals, corporations, schools, governments, and organizations are welcome and actively encouraged to participate….”  


Horizon International Mission: Horizon is a non-profit organization based at Yale University that develops and advances solutions, especially in the areas of health, the environment, and poverty alleviation with the help of its Scientific Review Board, hundreds of cooperating organizations, Associates, television programs, conferences and lectures, solutions sites, and special projects such as the Magic Porthole™ coral reef multimedia and multifaceted project. Home page:



Janine M.H. Selendy, Chairman and President

Horizon International

Yale University



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