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. Katie is participating in the REEF Marine Conservation Fellows Program as Communications and Engagement Fellow. In the coming year, she will work closely with our team to support communications, outreach, and member engagement with our marine conservation programs. Read on to learn more about Katie, and be sure to say hello if you see her at the REEF Campus in Key Largo!

Katie grew up in New Bern, North Carolina, only 45 minutes from Atlantic Beach. She has always loved being out on the water, whether swimming, boating, snorkeling, or just relaxing. She attended North Carolina State University (NCSU) and graduated with a B.S. in plant biology and minors in marine science and animal science. Her interest in ocean conservation was sparked during a Reef Relief service learning trip in Key West, where she learned about protecting coral reefs. In college, she attended a semester-long program at NCSU’s Center for Marine Science and Technology (CMAST), where she learned about coastal and marine ecosystems through classes and research. Katie worked with faculty to conduct an independent project on the Crystal Skipper, an endangered species of butterfly. After the semester ended, she received funding from the USFWS and the Office of Undergraduate Research at NCSU to continue this research until she graduated. As a creative outlet, Katie has her own Etsy shop where she sells artwork and digital art. Combining her skills in science and art, she created the NCSU Marine Science Club logo, and designed posters to present her research visually. Katie is excited to marge her artistic and creative skills with her passion for science to help make a difference at REEF and spread awareness about marine conservation.

Welcome, Katie! We're glad to have you with us!