Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Inc.

Learn. Discover. Make A Difference.

aka REEF   |   Key Largo, FL   |  http://www.REEF.org

Mission

REEF conserves marine environments worldwide. Our mission is to protect biodiversity and ocean life by actively engaging and inspiring the public through citizen science, education, and partnerships with the scientific community.

Ruling year info

1992

Co-Executive Director: Science & Engagement

Dr. Christy V Pattengill-Semmens

Co-Executive Director: Strategy & Operations

Martha Klitzkie

Main address

PO Box 370246

Key Largo, FL 33037 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

65-0270064

NTEE code info

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Fisheries (D33)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

REEF inspires the public to assist the scientific community through citizen science, education, and partnerships. This is accomplished through the REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project, which has trained and involved over 16,000 divers and snorkelers in marine life identification and the collection of fish population and distribution data. This citizen science program has generated one of the largest marine life databases in the world with over 11.5 million records, and over 250,000 surveys conducted to date. REEF leads the way in lionfish invasion intervention, and pioneered research for preservation of endangered species like Nassau Grouper. Government agencies, conservation organizations, and scientists increasingly use the REEF data to address key management and conservation issues, such as stock assessments, evaluating population pressure on natural resources, and understanding species interactions and speciation.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Volunteer Fish Survey Project

REEF's mission, to educate and enlist divers in the conservation of marine habitats, is accomplished primarily through the Volunteer Fish Survey Project. This citizen science program was developed in 1990 with support from scientists and resource agencies. The project allows volunteer SCUBA divers and snorkelers to collect and report information on marine fish populations as well as selected invertebrate and algae species. The data are collected using a standardized method, and are housed in a publicly-accessible database on REEF's Website. These data are used by a variety of resource agencies and researchers and have been featured in dozens of scientific publications.

Population(s) Served
Adults

In the Winter of 2002, REEF launched a ground breaking expedition to the Cayman Islands - the Grouper Moon Project. The Project’s objectives were to observe the Nassau grouper spawning aggregation off the western tip of Little Cayman, and to develop a protocol for monitoring their numbers and activity at the site. For two weeks, a team of divers from REEF and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment visited the aggregation site and nearby reefs. Since that first year, REEF has coordinated annual efforts to monitor and study the Little Cayman Nassau grouper aggregation. The project has since grown in scope to include an ambitious acoustic tagging research project, juvenile habitat and genetics studies, and early results have been published in the scientific literature. In 2012, critical legislation was passed in the Cayman Islands to more thoroughly protect this endangered species, based in large part on the findings of the Grouper Moon Project.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Since 1994, REEF has maintained an on-line educational section on non-native species as well as an on-line exotic species reporting page.  Divers are encouraged to submit any sightings of non-native species via this sightings reporting form.  Indo-pacific Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans) have been documented along the entire US East Coast from Florida through Massachusetts, east to Bermuda and south throughout the Caribbean. The expansion has been extremely rapid and exponential in scope. Since 2006, REEF has been working in close partnership with government agencies and partners throughout the region to help develop lionfish response plans, train resource managers and dive operators in effective collecting and handling techniques and conduct cutting edge research to help address the invasion.  To aid in this effort, REEF currently enlists interested divers and snorkelers to join organized lionfish research and removal projects and encourages public participation in helping address the invasion.

Population(s) Served
Adults

REEF conducts a variety of Outreach and Training activities, including training divers and snorkelers on marine life identification, attending outreach events and trade shows, presenting at scientific conferences, and sending out e-newsletters and posting content to the REEF website.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Completed in 2018 - Additional space to accommodate additional training courses and public access to interpretive exhibits educating on flora, fauna, and five distinct marine environments found in the Keys.

Population(s) Served
Adults

REEF provides a suite of educational programming for a broad audience, from the young to the young at heart. The Explorers Education Programs include summer camp, virtual and in-person classes, college field expeditions, and year-round internships for college-age students.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of Volunteer Fish Surveys submitted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Volunteer Fish Survey Project

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Volunteer SCUBA divers and snorkelers report information on marine fish populations as well as select invertebrates and algae and are housed in a publicly-accessible database. *2020 low b/c of COVID.

Number of invasive species removed from managed area(s)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Invasive Lionfish Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

REEF removes Lionfish and other non-native species from oceans through derbies and rapid response teams. The derbies serve to educate the public and raise awareness of the problem.

Number of fish sightings records in worldwide database

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Volunteer Fish Survey Project

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

REEF houses the world's largest marine life sightings database, containing over 255,000 surveys and over 6,000 fish species, at 16,000+ survey sites around the world.

Number of attendees at educational fishinars

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Outreach and Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Fishinars are REEF's brand of live, interactive webinars for anyone who wants to know more about ocean life. These short, free webinars will teach you the finer points of identifying fish.

Total number of new organization members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Outreach and Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

REEF offers free membership to divers and marine enthusiasts actively engaging in marine conservation. Members play an important role serving as citizen scientists collecting valuable information.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

REEF's goals are:
• To conserve marine ecosystems through education and science based data collection
• To educate, enlist, and enable divers and other marine enthusiasts to become active stewards and citizen scientists
• To provide relevant fish population data to scientists, resource managers, and conservationists
• To combat invasive marine species through research, training seminars, and removal projects
• To offer protections to threatened or endangered species through data collection, monitoring, and education

• REEF's strategies for reaching its goals are to carry out its core programs, including the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, the Invasive Lionfish Project, and the Grouper Moon Project
• Additionally, REEF carries out educational programs in the classroom, online (Fishinars), and underwater to marine enthusiasts of all ages
• REEF is also committed to educating our future ocean leaders through our quarterly Marine Conservation Internship Program
• REEF partners with “Conservation Partners" to disseminate and encourage participation. Conservation Partners include dive shops, dive clubs, and other marine conservation organizations.

REEF has full time staff members who run each program in addition to volunteers and over 70,000 members (as of 2020). Additionally, there are over 16,000 volunteer citizen scientists who have conducted at least one REEF fish survey since the Volunteer Fish Survey Project started in 1993. Although REEF manages the survey database (including quality control), it relies on volunteers, dive shops, and Conservation Partners worldwide to populate the database with meaningful information. Surpassing 250,000 surveys in 2020, REEF's database is the largest fish sightings database in the world.

• REEF Fish Survey Project survey database topped 250,000 individual surveys in 2020 - this makes REEF's database the largest collection of marine fish information in the world
• REEF participated in several important scientific conferences, and data presented at these events were used to answer multiple marine conservation questions, such as how Marine Protected Areas are affecting fish populations in National Marine Sanctuaries
• The groundbreaking Grouper Moon Project studying Nassau Grouper aggregations in the Caribbean was extensively expanded and a new education curriculum has been developed. Research findings are being used to support expanded protections for this endangered reef fish
• REEF's Invasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish Program expanded to include more detailed research on these non-native predatory fish who are threatening Atlantic and Caribbean marine ecosystems
• REEF welcomes approximately 3,000 new members annually, creating an even stronger voice for our marine conservation efforts

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The success of REEF’s marine conservation mission is made possible by the support of our members, volunteers, and partners. REEF has a broad geographic reach with over 72,000 members. REEF has build strategic partnerships with government agencies, science and academic institutions, the non-profit sector, and local communities. We actively engage and inspire the public in marine conservation so the oceans can be enjoyed by current and future generations.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    For more than 30 years, REEF has served as a leader in marine conservation and citizen science in part due to our adaptability. We develop intentional processes to ensure we listen and gather feedback from our members and partners to continuously improve our programs. For example, REEF hosts many online programs to educate and engage the public with marine conservation. After each event, participants are asked to complete a survey with feedback. We use the constructive critism gathered in these surveys to shape and improve the next online program. Adapting the content, length, style, and set up accordingly.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    REEF is a grassroots, citizen science organization. Many of our core values are based on the belief that everyone can make a difference and that there is great value to the individual's perspective. When we are working together collaboratively, it is our collective impact that results in the most significant marine conservation successes.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently,

Financials

Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 7/23/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Anna DeLoach

Blennywatcher.org

Ned DeLoach

New World Publications

James Dalle Pazze, Esq.

Herdeg, du Pont & Dalle Pazze, LLP

Paul Humann

New World Publications

Anna DeLoach

BlennyWatcher.org

Marta Bonatz

DuPont, retired

Alex Brylske

Ocean Education International

Janet Camp

Pelton Charitable Foundation, Inc

Harris Friedberg

Wesleyan University

Scott Heppell

Oregon State University

Mary McCombie

Trinity College

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 07/12/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/12/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.