This month, we are extending a warm goodbye (and congratulations!) to Ellie Splain Roberts, who served as Education Program Manager for the past four years. Ellie is relocating to the Washington, D.C. area, where she will soon begin a new job as the National External Affairs Coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

Ellie first came to REEF as a Marine Conservation Intern through Our World Underwater Scholarship Society in the summer of 2013. In February 2015, she was hired as the Education Program Manager. Under Ellie's leadership, the Explorers Education Program has grown to include Ocean Explorers Camp - a marine science summer camp for children ages 8-13, week-long field methodology courses for college students, and numerous classroom and field programs about fish identification and surveying, invasive lionfish, and marine ecology. The Explorers Education Program engages with primary and secondary schools, colleges, adult travel groups, scouts, and dive clubs, many of whom continue to schedule REEF programs each year. This is testament to the excellent quality of REEF's educational programming, made possible thanks largely to Ellie's efforts. A patient and understanding teacher and mentor, she also fostered professional and personal growth for many young adults as REEF's Marine Conservation Internship program supervisor.

Ellie played a vital role in the annual REEF Fest event, organizing every REEF Fest since 2016. Her attention to detail and aptitude for event planning were instrumental to the success of this annual event, as well as other outreach programs throughout South Florida and the Florida Keys. She coordinated REEF's campus expansion in 2017, including the addition of the Interpretive Center, Native Plants Trail, and ocean-focused educational signage. In addition to her education and outreach responsibilities, in 2018 Ellie stepped up to play a leadership role in supporting daily operations at REEF Headquarters. She leaves a lasting impact at REEF as a wonderful coworker, team member, fish surveyor, and friend.

We're thankful for Ellie's hard work, dedication, and passion for marine conservation. She will always be a part of the REEF family, and we wish her the best of luck as she starts her next chapter!