We are heartbroken to share the news that beloved REEF member, Cassandra Neal, passed away unexpectedly last month. Her kindness, laughter, and passion for the oceans will be greatly missed by many.

Cassandra was a kindergarten teacher in Long Island, NY. Following her retirement in 2006, she and her late husband Franklin, also an avid REEF surveyor, relocated from New York to Bonaire. From then on there was no stopping them: they spent their time diving, traveling, visiting family and friends, and enjoying life and one another. Both made significant contributions to the REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project as citizen scientists. Cassandra and Franklin both conducted 1,000+ REEF surveys and became members of the Golden Hamlet Club! They were regular participants on REEF Field Survey Trips, and also attended a REEF Expedition to the Azores to assist with expanding the project to the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean region. Cassandra conducted 379 REEF surveys in 2020 - the most of any REEF member than year! In March 2021, Scuba Diving magazine highlighted her for this amazing achievement. You can read the article here.

Cassandra’s daughter Carrie proposed that in celebration of Cassandra’s life, you may wish to buy books for your local library, spend time volunteering for your favorite charity, join a garden club, or donate to REEF.