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're excited to introduce Katie Barnes, Alexis Kuhre Haag and Dylan Heppell (from L-R), who are participating in the Marine Conservation Fellows Program. Katie is a Communications and Engagement Fellow, Alexis is an Education and Outreach Fellow, and Dylan is a Conservation Science Fellow. REEF Marine Conservation Fellows gain in-depth experience in a specific area while working closely with a REEF staff mentor. They also help provide training and support for Marine Conservation Interns, and gain skills in nonprofit management and operations. Read on to learn more about Alexis and Dylan below, and you can also check out Katie's profile in our October 2022 e-News by clicking here.

Alexis Kuhre Haag was a REEF Marine Conservation Intern in fall 2022, and she is so excited to continue her journey at REEF this year! Alexis graduated from Ohio University in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in specialized studies, combining environmental studies and sociology, and a geography minor. She was raised in a family of avid environmental activists, and has carried that instilled love of the environment to marine conservation. She was a counselor for a summer camp serving kids ages 6-11, where she planned activities and field trips to help them learn about environmental issues facing Appalachia, such as acid mine drainage. She became more focused on marine conservation while visiting Forfar Field Station on Andros Island in The Bahamas on two occasions - a weeklong program in with her university, and the second a six-week program the following summer, where she earned certifications like Wilderness First Aid, Sea Kayaking, PADI Advanced Open Water, and Leave No Trace. In college, she served as the Ohio University Student Director for the Sugar Bush Foundation, an organization that helps the local community and Ohio University by funding projects to promote sustainable development in Southeastern Ohio and Appalachia. She has also worked with Zero Waste Event Productions, helping to divert waste at large festivals and events in the region. She also worked with Ohio University’s Office of Sustainability, where she shared information about how students can become involved with the Sustainability Ambassadors, a campus student organization.

Dylan Heppell graduated from Oregon State University in the spring of 2022 with an Honors B.S. in environmental sciences with a specialization in aquatic biology. He loves everything related to the ocean, and being in, on, or near the water. Dylan grew up with two marine biologists for parents so his love for the ocean was engrained at an early age. He is returning to Key Largo after having spent a month at REEF in 2019 working with Dr. Alli Candelmo on the Invasive Species Program. Dylan is thrilled to be able to now spend an entire year in the Keys as a Fellow at REEF. He became a certified diver during a family vacation in Hawaii in 2017, and since then he has completed his advanced open water, rescue diver, and nitrox certifications through OSU. In the summer of 2021, Dylan worked as an intern at Pacific Seafood Group on freshwater conservation projects in their shrimp processing operations. His ideas, presented to the heads of the company, have the potential to save 35 million gallons of water each year at the Pacific Shrimp processor in Newport, Oregon. In 2022, Dylan had the opportunity to join the REEF Grouper Moon team in the Cayman Islands, where he assisted with logistics like camera and equipment management, and data collection on the aggregation site. In his free time, Dylan enjoys hiking, sports (especially soccer), diving, and fishing. He is very excited to help advance REEF's conservation science work during his Fellowship!

We are thrilled to have Alexis, Dylan, and Katie with us this year!