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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Environment, Fisheries Resources, Marine Science & Oceanography, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Sports, Technology

Mission: To conserve marine water ecosystems for their recreational, commercial, and intrinsic value by educating, enlisting and enabling divers and other marine water enthusiasts to become active stewards and citizen scientists. REEF links the diving and snorkeling community with scientists, resource managers and conservationists through in-water marine-life data collection and related activities.

Results: • Celebrating 20 years of marine conservation efforts at REEF Fest in Key Largo, FL • Surpassing the 175,000th survey for the Volunteer Fish Survey Project • Launching a new survey region in the Carolinas and Georgia: South Atlantic States • Providing data to researchers supporting better understanding and protections for ocean habitats and the creatures living in them • Expanding the Grouper Moon Education Program and bringing our research to life through live-feed video chats

Target demographics: protect ocean populations, engage divers and snorkelers in the water in citizen science, and educate the public about the marine conservation issues,

Geographic areas served: worldwide

Programs: the REEF Volunteer Survey Project, invasive species research and control programs (including the invasive lionfish in the waters of the western Atlantic), the Grouper Moon Project (studying one of the last spawning aggregations of the Caribbean iconic species the Nassau Grouper), and free education programs.

Community Stories

62 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

REEF has a clearly defined mission that I fully support: educating people about marine conservation, and collecting data to support research. Participating in REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey program and learning from their "fishinars" has given me great enjoyment and enhanced my expertise in knowing the fishes where I dive, which makes my diving "count" for something. Their response to the lionfish invasion in the Tropical Western Atlantic is a model of taking on an environmental disaster. They accomplish so much, on such a shoestring budget...

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love REEF because it motivates me to learn more about the health of coral reefs around the world. I think it is a fantastic way for citizen scientists to be involved in meaningful research!

1 Emilia I.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has provided me with the tools and training necessary to enhance my science curriculum and help students become involved in conservation. Their website and data pages are easy to navigate and their staff is simply amazing.

1 Pam W.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love REEF because it has provided a purpose to my diving and I have met so many like minded divers who share this passion for the fish in the sea. I also like the idea that the data we are providing is useful for scientists in a variety of fields. The REEF staff does a terrific job of training and support for its volunteers to insure accuracy of the data collected.

Pam Wade

Comments ( 1 )

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christy 05/02/2018

Thanks Pam for the kind words! :)

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF provides encouragement and training for volunteer fish surveyors. This provides a large data base that can be used for fish species scientific research. It also gets people much more involved with the ocean environment. Without the friendly ready knowledgable staff and volunteers it would be much more difficult and less enjoyable to get this knowledge and training. It also puts individuals interested in the ocean environment together so that they can build a community. Finally it promotes conservation and appreication for our ocean environmnet.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We enjoy SCUBA diving. We find watching fish behavior very interesting. But besides watching fish swimming around, we wanted to contribute more. REEF allowed us to do that. We do fish counts that go in a large database so scientists can research ways to preserve the underwater habitat. One example is the tracking of effects of the invasion of Pacific Lionfish on the abundance of different species.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a marine scientist, diver, and member of Reef. I love that reef has volunteer divers that (of their own accord) have become experts at reef creature identification and that Reef.org provides tests of their knowledge. This allows me to use that data and be confident in its quality. So far I have published 2 papers that have used Reef.org data as a major part of the paper. I am also a Reef.org diver and as a diver it always gives me a good reason to get in the water and get in a fish count and a dive. Finally I have found that as divers begin counting and IDing fish and inverts in their dives they become more and more aware of the diversity of the ocean and the health of the ocean. They invariably become ocean stewards and ocean health advocates.

1 Virginia B.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Awesome- Fish ID training and opportunity to do citizen science and give back to the ocean environment I LOVE! I use REEF resources and books to connect my high school natural science students to their resources too.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I can't begin to tell you how important the work is, that these folks do, with regards to our environment. The fish surveys they take in order to determine species counts and the fierce battle that they wage against invasive species, which harm our waters is critical. Best wishes to all those involved and keep up the great work!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

REEF is an amazing organization that has many branches growing from its trunk. I like them all, but the one that I like the most is called Fish Surveying. A scuba diver or snorkeler like myself that enjoys marine fish can become a citizen scientist on every underwater adventure collecting data by filling out a survey that records species and abundance for a particular region of the world. Each individual survey goes into REEF's database and is available to anyone, i.e. research scientists, to use for their work/research in the marine realm. I feel like I am able to contribute to ocean research as a lay person...REEF has made that possible for me. It feels great!

1 Rick R.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

No finer marine education organization anywhere!! Speakers, activities, field trips. Fish ID, dive buddies, demonstrations and more. Awesome organization and people.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The work REEF does with interns is invaluable to the continued advancement of environmental education by providing a springboard to future scientists and ecologists.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When my wife and I moved permantly to the Keys in 2002 we were drawn by the sea, both of us SCUBA divers since our teens and looking for like-minded folks. After we attended our first REEF Fish-n-Friends monthly meeting we were hooked. Friendly, knowledgeable people with a love for the ocean that rivaled our own! Since we became members in 2009 we have been volunteering more and more of our time to this wonderful organization. We now give bi-monthly fish ID classes at the HQ (mm 98.3) and were honored as Volunteers of the Year in 2013. We have become a Field Station and Level 5 Expert fish ID’ers. It seems that our life now revolves around introducing more people, especially young adults, to REEF and all the great programs they sponsor. What could be better than a non-profit that focuses on education and conservation run by caring people?

1 Amy R.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

REEF is an amazing organization. I have had the pleasure of working with them for two years now to train college students in fish identification and survey techniques. Their education coordinator is fantastic and my students have come away with very meaningful experiences that have inspired several of them to pursue careers in marine science.

1 Writer

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF Is an organization where divers who have an interest in fish and the underwater environment can make an impact as citizen scientists. As a member, I have increased my knowledge for identifying fish through information on REEF’s website, webinars, seminars, and trips with other like-minded divers. By counting/surveying fish, my data goes into a central data bank that researchers can access. REEF has taken a proactive role in decreasing the number of invasive species, especially lion fish, through culling, holding derbies, and sharing their knowledge/experience with others. They have provided information to protect certain species that were in danger, such as the Nassau Grouper in the. Amman Islands. At their Key Largo, Florida, headquarters, they hold monthly seminars and fish ID programs in addition to specialized programs for the general public and target audiences, such as students. Overall, I feel REEF has greatly contributed to my love of the ocean, conservation efforts, ability to contribute to science, and appreciate the beauty of the underwater world in addition to networking and meeting others who share the same interests.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a diver, REEF provides a purpose for my underwater experiences. By providing the resources for identifying fish and the ability to use my knowledge to contribute to scientific study, REEF has made my experiences under water enjoyable as well as purposeful. I have participated in a number of REEF trips which has furthered my fish ID knowledge, helped to remove lionfish from reefs, and offered connections with other divers that share my underwater passion. If you are a diver, you need to belong to REEF!

1 PamH21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF is a great organization doing a lot to educate people about our ocean environment. They offer great trips every year keyed on fish identification and population counts. The results of these counts end up in a database that is invaluable for all types of organiztions and scientists. Not to mention the other benefits of these trips, making new friends with other like minded divers.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great resource for learning about different kinds of fish all over the world. They provide free classes and online resources that make learning fun. They collect data from volunteer citizen scientists and use it to increase the knowledge of our oceans. It is a great resource used by many scientists.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization! Helping us all understand the underwater eco-environment just a bit better! Thank you REEF

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF is an amazing resource for helping scientists better understanding our marine world. And they do critical work in aiding marine conservation. Thank you REEF!

5 Dennis44

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having just suffered a tremendous blow to its physical plant and by those who both work and live in the immediate area (Key Largo, Fl), I can not think of a nonprofit that could use a boost in its moral more than REEF. This organization and more so the people who work and volunteer for it are some of the best people in the world. I have been a member some 16 years now and volunteering for REEF has changed my life. REEF deserves this recognition, especially now.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began my diving when I was 47 years old, the year was 1998. As it soon became apparent to me I was going to become a Master Diver I took the fish ID specialty course. In this course this not for profit organization, REEF was mentioned. A little while later I took my first REEF trip with Paul Human the current Director of REEF and one of its founders, in Pueto Rico. I have never looked back. Seventeen years later 600 dives and 400 Reef surveys later I alomost plan my life around REEF trips. I have done almost 24. The trips are all over the world and the diving is fantastic. Learning the fish for an area is fun but it is the fellowship of the other like minded divers and leaders that is the best! On top of all this I get a comfortable warm feeling in my heart Knowing that in my own small way I am doing something to help save our planets oceans!!!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an excellent nonprofit that benefits scientific research while educating the general public. They offer free education to all interested individuals. They increase awareness while promoting protection of the oceans we all share.