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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 30 years of marine conservation efforts at REEF Fest in Key Largo, FL • Surpassing the 250,000th survey for the Volunteer Fish Survey Project • Ocean citizen science programs in ten regions covering the world's oceans. • 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

98 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Saylar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF teaches divers of all levels how to identify fish through their webinars, books, Facebook pages for different areas and sponsored trips. As a diver, they make your underwater experience a learning one and one That is utterly awesome!

Previous Stories
1

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.

Read more

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been doing REEF fish surveys for a number of years. But the key activity I do with them (when not doing surveys) and often recommend to friends, are the Fishinars (webinars on fish), which are both informative and entertaining. The staff, particularly Janna Nichols, are always helpful in figuring the odd, unusual fish. They are a joy to work with. I would not donate to them if I did not believe in them.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

REEF is a jewel in conservation and education about the fish and other inhabitants of the earths vast ocean areas.
The online Fishinars are a great way to educate yourself and are perfect for individuals and families.
The online Volunteer Fish Surveys are a great way to use what you learned. Reef Trips are a great way to participate with wonderful mentors to monitor the health of the oceans.
To me, REEF is a great resource.

1 Mary A.8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Citizen science is WAY more fun than real science ever was for this retired scientist. REEF Fish ID trips are WAY better than tourist swim-around dive trips. I LOVE knowing the fishes, and REEF’s fishinars to teach me to identify the fishes are the best way to learn them.

1 Michele Doucet

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I discovered REEF last year and it has been a game changer for me as a scuba instructor and university researcher. The values and mission of this wonderful organisation are supported and promoted by their extremely competent, dedicated and motivated staff. The impact of their numerous projects and programs is beyond any non-profit group I have encountered so far in the realm of marine conservation and citizen science. They are truly deserving of recognition for the impact they have had and continue to have on improving the health of our oceans.

1 Rosemary C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Every summer I bring children with intellectual and physical disabilities to their classroom where they teach them about common reef fish and the Fl Keys ecosystem. The staff is knowledgeable, sensitive, and the children love the staff , their stuffed pets and t-shirts.The best non profit!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF teaches fish ID, and the more you learn about reef life, the more you are inspired to care for it. I love to see the enthusiasm when someone finally realizes what they are seeing underwater! On every dive I am surveying for REEF - it is fun and easy!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF is dedicated to educating its members and the public about all aspects of the marine environment. I’ve personally participated in many of their sponsored trips the purpose of which is to gather biodiversity data about fish population densities. Their education of “citizen scientists” is passionate and thorough, which enhances the quality of the collected data. REEF is a gem in the non profit world!

1 Laura K.6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Terrific support of the fish geek community. Very helpful with fish identification and tips on how to ID them in the field. Fishinars have opened my eyes to fish I might otherwise have missed during diving and snorkeling. Their data base is great for trip planning and, I am sure, a gold mine for scientists.

1 Leslie K.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEf does a great job encouraging citizen scientists. By doing reef fish surveys I feel more informed and involved with ocean issues. Thanks REEF.

1 Luanne B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF has opened my eyes underwater! There is so much more to see when you know what to look for. Also, they have influenced my behavior in all areas of conservation. Great people too!

1 ValKells

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

REEF's enthusiastic and knowledgable professionals and volunteers are dedicated to conservation, education, and outreach. With the health of our oceans in decline, exemplary organizations like REEF are more necessary than ever. Keep up the good work!

1 Marta Hilton B.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful citizen science organization that works to protect marine life diversity. Their Grouper Moon project along with the Cayman Islands DEP has preserved the Nassau Grouper population at one of the last know spawning sites in the Caribbean in Little Cayman.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization to enhance awareness, help new people with identifying their sightings and encorage people to enter there sightings in an online open source database for identification of reef biodiversity.

1 Karen Slaughter B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I first started with identifying fish, I used REEF's educational tools and found them very useful. The staff is super helpful and I still enjoy their webinars.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

REEF is a spectacular resource for divers and researchers. They and citizen science volunteers amass more reef fish distribution information, worldwide, than any other existent body. REEF offers courses and webinars with tricks to help divers and others interested to become familiar with and gain mastery of fish identification.
Their games and quizzes offer learning and fun.
Their databases offer materials for students and researchers to access for their work.
REEF is a top shelf nonprofit and deserves Great Nonprofits recognition!

1 Clare M.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It’s so exciting to volunteer and be a citizen scientist for REEF.org, not only am learning to ID the fish I see but it’s fun to teach others too.
I also feel with the random surveys I do I am helping to observe the health of the ocean and reef systems that help the scientists protect and preserve our underwater environment.

1 Ed__48

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This gives me the training and means to give back to the community through citizen science. The people who fur REEF do a wonderful job of supporting the volunteers as they contribute.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF is an organization that I can contribute to and that I know is making a difference. I turn in my data and I personally know two scientists that have used some of my data to write important papers and also a book about what i happening in our oceans. Also the staff is very "customer friendly" and so connecting with them to work out details is easy.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF is a fabulous charity that involves and educates anyone with an interest about the marine life of our oceans. They offer courses on how to identify what's living down there, both as on-line fishinars and in-person lectures for a number of interested local groups such as dive clubs. Once you know what you're seeing, you can partake in volunteer fish surveys, either on your own or as part of REEF-organised trips. They also carry out research into issues such as invasive lionfish. As a scuba diver, REEF have taught me so much about the fish and invertebrates I see when I dive, and taking part in their citizen science surveys makes my dives more fun and helps monitor the state of our sea life.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love working & diving with the Reef team.
I feel safe, learn a lot about fish and at my best scuba diving with this group.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great education program.

Creating Citizen Scientists to aide researchers

Very knowledgeable and helpful staff

1 Evie C.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have learned so much about fish with their Fishinars-seminars targeted to different areas of fish identification and behaviour, and had been able to contribute to the citizen science by reporting a number of species in Fiji, and other places in the South Pacific as well as in Hawaii. This is an amazing organisation!

1 Bridget L.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first learned about REEF 3 years ago while on a dive trip. I am so grateful I did! This is an excellent organization, dedicated to the conservation of my beloved oceans and her creatures. The people at REEF are knowledgeable and passionate about their mission, and just all-around awesome humans.

I have become involved in the REEF fish survey project, where I perform underwater surveys of fish populations while diving. This data is used by marine scientists and others for important conservation work. Participating in this program has been so rewarding. REEF’s education programs are quite effective, and left me well-prepared and confident in my knowledge of fish species in order to do surveys. I love being a citizen scientist, knowing I am having a positive impact for marine life!

1 Emilia I.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thanks to Reed.org I became a better advocate for the different marine ecosystems. My dives have become more fun as I try to learn and find new species.

Previous Stories
1

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 Laurie B.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My grandsons have attended REEF summer camps since they began - all the way from California. Last year they were joined by three girl cousins and all had a great time. My husband and I are regulars at monthly Fish and Friends mtgs., Key Largo Lionfish Derbies and any other REEF activities we can fit in our schedules. Great organization!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member of a local (Puget Sound) marine advocacy group (WA Scuba Alliance) I've had the joy of working with REEF on a number of projects. REEF folks have always come through to work with our team. Many of my fellow scientific divers are active REEF members. I can always count on these folks when we need to gather solid technical data for a project.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF not only provides valuable citizen-science data, they are a great resource for divers wanting to learn more about the marine world. The staff and volunteers go out of their way to make you feel welcome and that your surveys matter ... even you are just learning your sculpin from your rockfish!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Nature, especially the oceans need a friend and REEF brings so many non-scientist to the realm of marine critters, helping spread the message that they need to be protected . With their surveys, REEF helps monitoring the state of health of marine life around the globe.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reef.org was a game changer for me. It gave diving meaning. I have loved learning more about the environments that I was diving in. I have learned more than 120 tropical fish by site and do surveys for reef whenever I dive.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

REEF has been a wonderful tool to teach biology to divers. We introduce the technique basics early in advanced diver training or on special biology field trips. Students learn to identify the various fins, jaw structures and behavior of fish as part of species identification, which adds t0 a richer understanding of fish biology. The REEF program also allows students to add their contribution to the body of science after only a few hours of training. They love it!

1 John D.8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF is a great way to extend your diving experience into marine biology through fish and invertebrate identification training and practice. People protect what they love... but first you must know what is out there... REEF can help with that part!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

REEF is responsible for so much of my education on marine species from around the world. I have purchased all of their books, and over the years as new editions were published with more species added, I bought them again! I am a member, and I follow and participate in their Western Atlantic /Caribbean facebook page where I can post photos of species I have not been able to identify.

1 Don G.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF has helped me expand my knowledge of ocean environments and the creatures that inhabit them. It has provided a wonderful way for me to participate in citizen science and contribute to marine conservation. The training materials are first rate with the Fishinars being some of the best adult education I have experienced

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We wanted to learn more about sea life near our home in Seattle. Thanks to REEF's free on-line classes we can now identify the most important critters when diving. We haven't yet starting surveying what we see, but REEF makes the path to doing surveys (that help science) clear and easy.

1 Rus H.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Work they do is exceptional and often times the only long term data available.

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...

2

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 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 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.

3 Marie80

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Phenomenal organization! Doing things for the Ocean that not many others can or will do! Great diving organization too!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I heard about Reef a couple years ago and was impressed with how they were using volunteers to both increase our understanding of the oceans by scientists and to enhance the appreciation of the oceans by other divers. I started doing reef surveys about a year ago. I find that not only do I feel good about helping the scientists but I have greatly increased my understanding and appreciation of the great diversity of the oceans. I am now seeing all sorts of ocean life that I did not notice before. I am passing this appreciation on to others through the photos I post online which have a number of followers.

2 Alison45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF has been honest and committed to their cause since inception. They have some very knowledgeable people on staff and as volunteers. Their findings are used by several serious science organizations, and therefore REEF is contributing directly to ocean conservation.

The trips are fun and informative, linking divers of like mind and spirit.

2 Peter74

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with REEF.org for 10 years now and their knowledge, education program and staff have consistently been A+...

3 Jeff133

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an active supporter of REEF for over 8 years and am currently on the way to join them as a volunteer conducting surveys on Saba. The educational materials and free online seminars have been a great resource of knowledge invaluable to me as a scuba instructor and underwater photographer.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to a number of REEF events, from their lion fish derbies, to their jewelry workshops, and even their annual REEF Fest and can honestly say there is not a harder working, more passionate, fun loving, all around genuine and fantastic group than the REEF staff and volunteers. I am so impressed with what they are able to accomplish world wide while having such few people and so many projects. I highly recommend all ocean enthusiasts to pursue this non profit and just get to know their mission.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF is an amazing group of people who do truly meaningful work. They spend the extra time to get to know each member and it really came across at REEF Fest, when so many old and new friends gathered to celebrate ocean conservation. Their database is extremely useful to scientists and policy makers as well as recreational snorkelers and divers, and their invasive lionfish research program does amazing work. They don't only hold events related to ocean conservation, but they also make it fun and bring together a community of like-minded fishy people.

I truly believe that the work REEF does is exceptional, and they have an equally outstanding team making it happen. I will always support REEF and cherish my time there!

4 Jan_83

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a great organization teaching people about the reef and how to protect our ocean. My husband and I learned about the importance of eradicating lionfish from them and have been pulling lionfish out of the ocean as much as we can now. A great organization.

4 Park C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

REEF conducts ground-breaking research in the field of marine science. The governments of the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas have enacted legislation protecting Nassau Grouper populations based on REEF's work. The Lionfish project is making a difference in the control of an invasive species in the Atlantic.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I have been volunteer members of REEF for almost twenty years. She was seven when we joined, and became a certified junior diver at ten- In great part due to the fun we had together as REEF members & volunteers. Avid snorkelers, and divers, we love diving with a purpose. Our favorite "self-challenge" is to see how many species we can identify on outing; always trying to better ourselves! Best Part of REEF? The workshops and events hosted; on an ongoing basis. Fish identification seminars, lionfish round-up, and social gatherings where we have had the opportunity to bond with like minded fish enthusiasts; to name a few. BONUS of volunteering with REEF? Supports related environmental causes & influences environmental policy.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been doing fish surveys for REEF for a couple of years and enjoy really "looking" at the fish I see while diving. I find that I spend extra time watching behaviors of the fish, too. I took my first REEF trip this past spring and it was amazing...jammed packed with diving, identifying, and educational seminars, with a top-notch, knowledgeable group leader!!! It is great fun being a citizen scientist with this wonderful organization.