REEF members are the heart of our grassroots marine conservation programs. A diverse community of divers, snorkelers, and ocean enthusiasts support our mission to conserve marine environments worldwide.

This month we highlight Sara Cowles, a REEF member who lives in Colorado. Sara is an avid surveyor, having conducted 476 REEF surveys in multiple regions, including the Tropical Western Atlantic, Tropical Eastern Pacific, and Hawaii (her favorite place to dive!) Sara has attended several REEF Field Survey Trips, including the recent Solomon Islands trip where she surveyed for the first time in the Central Indo Pacific. We're thankful to have Sara as part of the REEF family!

When and how did you first volunteer with REEF or become a REEF member? How did you first hear about REEF?
In 2008 I became a REEF member after speaking with a very nice lady holding a yellow slate on a dive boat off the Kona Coast. I asked her what she was studying. She told me about REEF. As soon as I got off the dive boat and back to my computer I signed up and became a REEF member.

What is your favorite part about being a REEF member?
REEF Trips - It’s where I learn the most. I am able to ask questions, to learn fish ID tips, and to talk with experts.

Do you dive close to where you live, and if so, what is the best part about diving there? If you don’t dive nearby, where do you most often dive? Where is your favorite place to dive and why?
The Kona Coast of Hawaii is my favorite. The fish are beautiful and abundant. The water is warm, has excellent visibility, and there no current. Divers can explore several different habitats on the same dive, and the underwater topography is comprised of lava and hard corals.

Do you have a favorite local (or not) REEF field station or dive shop? If so, what is its name and what do you like about them?
Pacific Rim Divers - Patrice and Frank are the best fish finders and they always make sure everyone has a wonderful time above and below the water.

What is your favorite fish or marine invertebrate? Why is it your favorite?
Tinker’s Butterflyfish - They are beautiful, curious, and rarely seen above 100 feet. It’s a treat when you see them.

What is your most memorable fish find and why? Is there a fish (or marine invertebrate) you haven’t seen yet diving, but would like to?
Being able to count Dwarf Chromis amongst the plethora of Blackfin Chromis on the Kona Coast. I was only able to count them on one dive trip, but I continue to search for them in hopes that they will be counted again.