Four-day Florida Keys event includes diving, snorkeling, kayak tours, ocean seminars, and socials
KEY LARGO, FLA. – Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) invites ocean enthusiasts to celebrate marine conservation during REEF Fest on Oct. 14-17, 2021, in Key Largo, Fla. The event features ocean-themed seminars and marine conservation programming, social gatherings, diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. Most REEF Fest events are free, although online pre-registration is requested. Please visit www.REEF.org/REEFfest for full details and registration.
Ocean-themed Seminars and Workshops
REEF Fest begins on Thursday, Oct. 14, with free marine conservation programming at the Murray Nelson Government Center, including a fish identification class at 1 pm and an invasive lionfish workshop at 2:30 pm. Ocean-themed seminars will be held on the afternoons of Friday, Oct. 15, and Saturday, Oct. 16. REEF Fest 2021 guest speakers feature scientists, naturalists, underwater photographers, and more. This year’s lineup includes:
Friday, Oct. 15 – 2:00pm: Conservation Stories from the Field presented by Drs. Alli Candelmo and Christy Pattengill-Semmens, REEF; and Dr. Scott Heppell, Oregon State University
3:30 pm: The Heady Hunt for 5000 Fishes presented by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach, REEF Co-Founders and Marine Life Authors
6:30 pm: Wonders of the Ocean: The World Beneath presented by Dr. Richard Smith, Underwater Photographer, Author, and Marine Conservationist
Saturday, Oct. 16 – 2:00 pm: Shaping the Future of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary - and How You Can Help presented by Sarah Fangman, Superintendent of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
3:00pm: The Role of Citizen Science in Monitoring and Protecting our Ocean Biodiversity presented by Dr. Dan Greenberg, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Tour the oldest building in the Upper Keys during the REEF Fest Open House, held at the REEF Campus (MM 98.3 in the median) on Thursday, Oct. 14 from 5-7 pm. Single-serve appetizers will be available to enjoy, and local craft beer and wine will be available. The Open House is free and open to the public.
Mingle with friends over sandwiches, snacks, and drinks during the REEF Fest Happy Hour Social, held on Friday, Oct. 15 from 5-6:30 pm at the Murray Nelson Government Center. Following the social, we will head back inside the auditorium for the keynote presentation from marine biologist Dr. Richard Smith. The social is free and open to the public.
For the Love of the Sea, the annual REEF Fest celebration dinner, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 4:30-8:30 pm. Enjoy food, drinks, and a beautiful sunset over the waters of Florida Bay, plus live music and a silent auction benefiting REEF's marine conservation programs. Tickets are available online for $75 per person and include a variety of sweet and savory hors d'oeuvres and entrees, along with delicious desserts, all prepared by A Movable Feast. An open bar with local craft beer from Florida Keys Brewing Company, plus wine, liquor and a selection of non-alcoholic beverages are also included.
Diving, Snorkeling, Kayaking, and Conservation Activities
REEF Fest is the perfect opportunity to explore the amazing marine habitats of the Florida Keys. Local operators including Key Dives, Quiescence Diving Services, Amoray Dive Center, Forever Young Charter Company, and Florida Bay Outfitters are offering special REEF Fest eco-excursions on the mornings of Friday, Oct. 15 and/or Saturday, Oct. 16. Diving, snorkeling, and kayaking may be booked online directly through the REEF Fest website.
On the morning of Sunday, Oct. 17, attendees may enjoy special conservation programs and tours to learn about the many ways the Florida Keys community is working to conserve and protect the environment, both above and below the water.
REEF would like to thank First Horizon Foundation, Florida Keys Brewing Company, A Movable Feast, and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council for their support.
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) conserves marine environments worldwide. Our mission is to protect biodiversity and ocean life by actively engaging and inspiring the public through citizen science, education, and partnerships with the scientific community. For more information, visit www.REEF.org.