As the year comes to a close, it's amazing to look back and what we achieved, together. None of this would be possible without the support of REEF’s members and partners. Thank you for the incredible outpouring of support in 2021.

Here’s to you and another great year of impactful citizen science, education, and marine conservation!

Christy Pattengill-Semmens Ph.D. and Martha Klitzkie
REEF Co-Executive Directors

Please take a few moments to watch this video summary highlighting just some of what we accomplished, together this year.

We’re On A Mission 

Together, we are conserving 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.

Join us! From conducting a fish survey, joining in a Fishinar from the comfort of home, participating in one of our in-person events, donating to provide financial support or reading about REEF’s latest work in our e-News, there’s a unique role in conservation that’s just for you! 

These images are just a few highlights of our work in 2021.

Our Impact in 2021: Making a Difference Together

Here's a few highlights from REEF's work in 2021

  • 8,898 surveys submitted to the Volunteer Fish Survey Project database in 2021 (so far), resulting in 265,354 surveys in the database conducted by over 16,000 volunteer citizen scientists since 1993
  • 18,035 sighting records of Sunflower Seastar contributed to an IUCN Red List assessment to determine endangered status
  • 498 participants from 37 states and 6 countries registered for the 2nd Annual Fish Out of Water Virtual 5K
  • 10 groups hosted at the REEF Campus for in-person Explorers Programming, with 235 people, including from elementary and high schools, colleges, scout groups, and adult groups
  • 4 multi-day Explorers Expeditions coordinated and hosted, with 60 students participating
  • 5 new Virtual Field Trip programs created and launched, covering 3 program areas each for primary and middle school grade levels. 10 teachers have used the new programs so far
  • 1,216 total lionfish removed by 61 participants from 19 teams in the 12th annual Florida Keys Lionfish Derby & Festival in September, with over 400 attendees and 17 vendors at the conservation festival
  • 494 total lionfish removed by 45 participants from 14 teams in the 8th annual Earth Day Lionfish Derby
  • Over 1,000 images of Nassau Grouper were pulled from photos and videos taken at the Little Cayman spawning aggregation to add to an image-recognition database for individual fish based on unique facial patterns
  • 7 scientific papers have been published using data and findings from the VFSP, Lionfish, and Grouper Moon Project
  • 19 requests for raw data from the Volunteer Fish Survey Project filled for scientists
  • 10 Marine Conservation Interns and 5 Leadership Interns hosted

Conserving marine environments worldwide

Building connections and bringing people together.

Saving endangered species

Educating tomorrow’s leaders

Reducing the impacts of invasive species.

Developing collaborative, science-based solutions.

Supporting diverse communities

click to view larger


REEF's values reflect the grassroots nature of our work. We make the most of every dollar donated and focus on programs with the highest conservation impact and community reach. Our work would not be possible without our donors, who lend critical financial support to our mission.

Following the challenges of 2020, 2021 continued to be a an unusual year for REEF's financials because of COVID-19 pandemic. REEF continued to allocate over 80% of our revenue to program-related expenses. Our program income was down, but thanks to the generosity of our members, contribution income was higher than usual. We also received CARES Act funding, which helped bridge the gap with lower Program Services Income.

*30% of Program Services Income from CARES Act Funding

Looking Ahead to 2022

We’re building a community of ocean enthusiasts, and you are at the heart of REEF’s work. As we look forward, the need for REEF’s marine conservation work continues. From REEF’s humble beginnings to our biggest conservation success stories, members like you make our work possible. Your donation ensures REEF’s ocean conservation impact for years to come. 

From our team of 11 staff and 9 board members, thank your support!

When you donate to REEF, you can give knowing that your donation goes directly to make a difference for our oceans. REEF has earned an exceptional ‘Give with Confidence’ rating on Charity Navigator, joining the less than 1% of charities with a perfect score for fulfilling our mission in a fiscally-responsible way while adhering to good governance and best practices. We also have a Platinum rating on GuideStar. This means your donation goes directly toward making a difference for our ocean.