Volunteer of the Year: Judie Clee

Judie Clee - 2005

REEF congratulates super volunteer Judie Clee as our 2005 Volunteer of the Year (VOY.) Judie is from Bermuda and has been a passionate and dedicated REEF surveyor, teacher, and ambassador since becoming involved with the organization in 2000. “It’s a wonderful, wacky world of critters beneath those waves and I love to encourage people to enjoy, understand and protect it,” Judie always says. Judie got involved in REEF while diving with her sister on a live-aboard trip in the Pacific. As fate would have it, REEF Co-founder, Paul Humann, was also on the trip. Judie says she was aware of REEF, having been a long-time volunteer and supporter of the Bermuda Zoological Society, but really decided to take the plunge after she learned more from Paul. She was very excited to take all this back to Bermuda, where she thought the program would prove highly beneficial and fun. Judie is one of REEF’s most active surveyors, having amassed over 1,000 surveys and becoming one of only a few members in the “Golden Hamlet Club” (reserved for those who have reached this remarkable milestone.) She has also participated in numerous REEF Field Surveys and on various Advanced Assessment Team (AAT) Projects. In fact, Judie cites her participation in one of REEF’s AAT trips to the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, which happened to coincide with coral spawning, as a highlight of her REEF involvement. These days, Judie has been active as a REEF “ambassador” serving as a “naturalist on-board” for REEF Week events hosted by the Little Cayman Beach Resort.These went over so well that Judie will be giving a repeat performance with another great REEF Field Station, Deep Blue Resort of Utila, in the Bay Islands of Honduras this fall. During these events, Judie teaches Fish ID, gives talks on behavior, and generally makes herself available to answer questions that resort guests have about the marine environment. Judie tells us that she tries to “keep it fun.” She continues, “That it goes beyond identifying fish. It’s an opportunity to share and it encourages understanding and drives people to protect the marine environment.” Judie is also working tirelessly to keep REEF active in Bermuda where, amongst other things, she is working on a mapping project that will cover the various marine habitats around the island.The project will, of course, integrate REEF data into the process. REEF would like to thank and congratulate Judie Clee for all her efforts and great work on behalf of the organization and marine conservation. Cheers to our Volunteer of the Year.

Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub