REEF members are at the heart of our grassroots marine conservation programs. More than 65,000 divers, snorkelers, students, and armchair naturalists stand behind our mission. 

This month we highlight Don Gordon, REEF member since 2011. Don recently achieved Golden Hamlet status, and has conducted 1007 surveys to date, mostly in the chilly waters of British Columbia, Canada. Don is a member of the PAC Advanced Assessment Team (AAT) and is active in several of REEF’s special monitoring projects. Here's what Don had to say about REEF:

How did you first hear about REEF?

I met Lad Akins at the International Marine Conservation Congress in Victoria, BC. As a former manager of protected natural areas I had a good deal of experience with citizen science and I was really impressed by REEF. I knew this was a place that I could make a meaningful contribution to the marine environment. 

Have you ever been on a REEF Field Survey Trip?

Shortly after meeting Lad I had a chance to go on a REEF Field Survey Trip to Hornby Island, British Columbia, led by Janna Nichols. On that trip I discovered that REEF was also a community. I also learned so much about our local fish and invertebrates that in no time I was able to join the AAT for the PAC region. Through the AAT I’ve been privileged to participate in a couple of long-term scientific studies and to learn from experts at the very top of their field. 

Do you dive close to where you live?

I am very grateful to have moved to Victoria on Vancouver Island from the Great Lakes region. Here we can dive 12 months of the year and there are easily a dozen good shore dives within 40 minutes of my home, making weeknight diving a reality. Vancouver Island also has an extensive dive infrastructure and an active dive community. One local operator describes it as, “The best cold water diving in the known universe.”

In the last few years I’ve dived in the Philippines, Red Sea and Bahamas and can state that the best diving I’ve ever experienced is at the north end of Vancouver Island. Beneath cold seas you can encounter a diversity and abundance that defies belief.