Education is a core part of REEF's marine conservation mission. From elementary school classes to adult travel groups, we offer programs for all ages and backgrounds through the REEF Ocean Explorers Education Program. Participants can join in both online and in person, and learn about topics like fish identification, citizen science, marine life behavior, invasive species, endangered species, sustainable fisheries, and Florida Keys ecology.

Although we host in person and online education programs year-round, the summer season brings plenty of education programs to the REEF Campus in the Florida Keys. In May we kicked off our busy summer season with a week-long expedition with Georgia State University, who has been participating in REEF programs since 2018. This year's student group celebrated many firsts during their trip, including their first visit to the Florida Keys, first time participating in citizen science, and first time snorkeling in the ocean! 

We are also hosting Road Scholars at the REEF Campus for the fifth consecutive summer. Intergenerational groups of grandparents and their grandchildren are visiting the REEF Campus each week from June through August to learn about fish ID, marine life adaptations, and the importance of conservation. These groups are especially rewarding to teach, and they all walk away from our programs inspired and excited about ocean conservation.

Many of our summer groups love learning about fish identification and behavior. Participants from groups like The Road Less Traveled and Westcoast Connection travel from all over the country to learn about the REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project. After a lesson on how to identify common fishes of the Florida Keys, we head out to the coral reef to conduct fish surveys!

With their striking patterns, alien-like adaptations, and venomous spines, invasive lionfish are another favorite topic for our education groups. While we love hosting in-person lionfish classes and dissections, not everyone can come to us to learn, and in these cases, we bring the ocean to them! Throughout the summer, we will be hosting lionfish dissections virtually for various summer camp groups to learn all about this invasive species. One camp, the Naples Zoo Summer Camp, is a repeat participant in REEF’s virtual programs.

Through REEF Ocean Explorers Education programs, participants may learn about ocean life in a variety of ways, whether on a boat in the field, in the classroom, or on a computer screen. 

To find out more about the REEF Ocean Explorers Education Program or to set up a program of your own, visit