Although the Volunteer Fish Survey Project operates worldwide, REEF Headquarters is based in Key Largo, Florida, and we organize plenty of public programs and events that are held at our Interpretive Center. Earlier this year, we launched Citizen Science Saturday, a new monthly program created to engage Florida Keys residents and visitors in diverse, hands-on citizen science projects while providing a way for the public to connect with nature. Each Citizen Science Saturday event starts with a presentation from a guest speaker. Afterwards, participants can join a hands-on field experience to collect data as citizen scientists.

The goals of Citizen Science Saturday are to increase environmental awareness and stewardship, protect and study fragile Florida Keys habitats, and foster a sense of community. Each month, REEF will collaborate with a different non-profit organization, recreational outfitter, or government agency to offer a wide variety of citizen science projects, either in the water and on land. By working with a new partner each month, REEF will give community members the chance to learn about and assist a variety of organizations in collecting information to assess the health of marine and land habitats of the Keys.

Our first two Citizen Science Saturday programs were very well-attended, and we are excited to continue engaging the public with future programs. In February, we partnered with Florida Public Archaeology Network to host a Submerged Heritage Monitoring Scouts workshop and dive to assess at-risk underwater archaeological sites. More recently, we teamed up with University of Florida IFAS Extension and Florida Sea Grant to offer a stony coral tissue loss disease training and dive to conduct coral disease surveys. Our next program, to be held on June 22, is a seagrass monitoring workshop and snorkel, organized in partnership with another Key Largo-based non-profit, MarineLab Environmental Education Center.

Whether you're visiting the Florida Keys or happen to live nearby, we'd love to have you join us for a public program! You can check out our upcoming Interpretive Center events here.