Students from two universities recently spent their spring breaks engaging with REEF's marine conservation and citizen science projects. Each group of students spent one fun-filled week working alongside REEF staff and interns to learn about Tropical Western Atlantic (TWA) fish identification and the REEF survey method. We were thrilled to welcome students from Georgia State University and their professor, Dr. Amy Reber, back to Key Largo for their annual field course. This weeklong education program has become a component of Georgia State's marine ecology course. The group conducted all of their field work while snorkeling, and despite some adverse weather at the beginning of the week, they had a great time exploring the reefs, mangroves, and seagrass habitats of the Upper Keys. They finished off their trip by becoming Level 2 TWA surveyors!
During the same week, marine science students from Eckerd College traveled to Cozumel to learn about fish identification and surveying under the guidance of REEF staff. This is our third year partnering with Eckerd College to offer a spring break citizen science and fish id course, which fulfills the students' community service graduation requirement. The group had a blast enjoying the beautiful conditions in Cozumel, including nearly 100 feet of visibility on most of their dives! Several of the students on the Cozumel trip had previously attended REEF's Eckerd College program in Key Largo, so they already had a few surveys under their weight belts. A few of these students were able to achieve Level 3 surveyor status, and many others became Level 2 surveyors.
Thank you to Georgia State University and Eckerd College for partnering with us on these marine conservation trips! Did you know that we organize custom education programs for colleges that include topics such as fish identification and surveying, invasive species, and marine ecology? Contact us at explorers@REEF.org for more information.