The REEF Educator in the Field Fellowship is an exciting, new professional development opportunity for formal and informal educators to gain hands-on experience with ocean citizen science. The Fellowship, to be awarded annually, will enable a qualified educator to participate in a REEF Field Survey Trip. They will join other citizen scientist volunteers to learn about marine life and conduct fish population surveys while scuba diving or snorkeling as part of the REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project. Following the Field Survey Trip, the Fellow will stay involved as a member of the REEF Education Advisory Panel.
The 2024 REEF Educator in the Field Fellowship recipient will join the REEF Field Survey Trip to Bonaire at Buddy Dive Resort, July 20-27, 2024. REEF will cover the total cost of the Field Survey Trip, including meals and air transportation up to $1,200. Complete trip details are available here. Please note that the Fellowship recipient will be assigned accommodations at the host hotel. Accommodations are shared and are based on double occupancy.
All qualified formal and non-formal educators are invited to apply for this opportunity! Applications will open October 1, 2023 and will close January 1, 2024. The selected educator will be notified in late-January.
About the Fellowship | Qualifications | Expectations & Considerations | About REEF Field Survey Trips | How to Apply | Contact
The Fellowship aims to provide an experience that will enable educators to engage their students and/or audiences with REEF programs through fieldwork, REEF database exploration, Virtual Field Trips, or other REEF Ocean Explorers Education Programs. Following their participation in the program, REEF Educator in the Field Fellows have the opportunity to implement engaging and interactive marine conservation lessons in and out of the classroom. Educator in the Field Fellows may also be eligible to earn up to 2.5 units of graduate level credit from the University of California at San Diego.
During this experience, the Fellow will learn about:
- Fish identification and key characteristics
- Fish behavior and adaptations
- Coral reef ecology, including human impacts, invasive species, and the role fish play in the ecosystem
- Citizen science, data collection and survey methods
- Be a member of REEF. To create a REEF profile online, please join for free here.
- Must be a teacher (elementary or secondary level) or educator (actively engaged in an education program at an institution or environmental organization, such as an aquarium, science center, or relevant non-profit organization)
- Must have a passport, or be able to obtain a passport
- Available to participate in person and fully for the duration of the REEF Field Survey Trip, plus any additional travel days required to get to/from the trip destination
- Ability to purchase travel insurance (recommended)
- Ability to purchase dive insurance if SCUBA diving (required - See here for details )
- Passion for marine conservation, education, and the environment
- Interest in learning how scientific research is conducted
- Desire to improve environmental or science education
- Commitment to engaging your students/audience in REEF programs
The Fellowship recipient is expected to actively participate in all aspects of REEF programming during the REEF Field Survey Trip, including:
- Conduct fish surveys while diving or snorkeling
- Achieve REEF Experience Level 2 by achieving at least 80% on a 25-question fish ID quiz
- Attend daily fish ID classes taught by the REEF Trip Leader
- Participate in other group activities facilitated by REEF, as applicable
After the REEF Field Survey Trip, Fellows participate in activities designed to promote continued engagement with marine conservation and education, including:
- Contribute content for “Educator in the Field” feature in REEF newsletter
- Create a presentation or other media reflecting on your Fellowship experience, to share with colleagues, students, and future scholars
- Implement relevant REEF lessons into curriculum
- Fellows also take on a one-year leadership commitment to support REEF education initiatives as a member of the Education Advisory Panel. Fellows may be asked to participate in online meetings, share feedback, serve as mentors to other educators, and provide feedback in stakeholder groups.
The Volunteer Fish Survey Project (VFSP) is REEF’s cornerstone citizen science program. Started in 1993, the VFSP engages SCUBA divers and snorkelers to collect and report information on marine fish populations, as well as sea turtles and select invertebrate and algae species (in temperate regions only.) One of the most effective and powerful ocean citizen science programs, it has generated the world’s largest database of marine fishes. The data are being used to better understand and protect ocean ecosystems worldwide.
REEF Field Survey Trips study the diversity and abundance of fish species found within a selected project region. Each diving day, participants use slates and underwater paper to record the fish species they see while snorkeling or diving. If you aren’t familiar with all your fish families and species prior to coming on the trip, there are ample learning opportunities during daily fish ID classes taught by one of a REEF marine life expert, as well as through interaction with other trip participants. Once the trip is complete, participants may upload their valuable survey data into REEF’s online program.
Past trips have gathered total species counts numbering in the hundreds, and have even uncovered elusive and unexpected species. Using REEF data, submitted by citizen scientists, researchers are making exciting new discoveries and monitoring marine ecosystems, and policymakers have high-quality, accessible information to make sound conservation and management decisions.
The application for 2024 will open in October 1, 2023.
To apply for the REEF Educator in the Field Fellowship, fill out the online application. Click the button below to begin your application.
Please upload the following to your application:
- Cover letter
- Recommendation letter from a colleague
- PDF document (2 pages max.) with answers to the following questions:
- What do you hope to get out of this experience?
- How will you share your educational experience with your students/audience?
- Describe relevant past experiences and/or synergistic activities that would enhance your participation as an Educator in the Field and/or could be leveraged to further the impact of your participation.
- Describe any past interactions or experiences with REEF education or citizen science programs, if relevant.
For more information or questions about the Educator in the Field Fellowship, please contact explorers@REEF.org.
Funding for the REEF Educator in the Field Fellowship is generously provided by CEDAM International. Since 1997, CEDAM International has offered annual financial support for an educator to participate in a REEF Field Survey Trip. This Fellowship was established in 2023 to continue the legacy of the Lloyd Bridges Scholarship.