Divers and marine researchers at the Key Largo-based nonprofit Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) are to celebrate the success and impact of marine conservation programs in the Florida Keys during REEF Fest, Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 24-27.

Activities and education initiatives include a lineup of seminars, social gatherings and diving opportunities at America’s best dive sites along fish-filled coral reefs, accompanied by some of the most prestigious names in diving and marine preservation.

Festivities begin Thursday with afternoon seminars followed by a welcome party at the Caribbean Club, the inspiration of the Humphrey Bogart film Key Largo and a breathtaking sunset locale, located at mile marker (MM) 104.

Friday and Saturday are full days, with diving in the mornings, seminars in the afternoons and social events in the evenings. All REEF Fest events are open to the public.

Meet famed underwater naturalists and photographers Ned DeLoach and Paul Humann, who are to sign books at a Friday evening open house. Saturday, a celebration dinner party features live music by The Scuba Cowboy, silent and live auctions and a three-course meal featuring Valencian paella, a classic southern Florida dish. Visit http://www.reef.org/REEFFest2015/socialevents.

Attend the Saturday night celebration dinner party for a chance to win incredible all-inclusive dive packages from REEF Fest's platinum Sponsors: 

  • Atlantis Philippines Dive Resorts and Liveaboards
  • Explorer Ventures: Adventures in Liveaboard Diving
  • Bay Island Yacht Charters Caribbean Pearl II: Luxary Liveaboard Adventure

Each day of REEF Fest offers opportunities with area dive operators to join ocean experts on fish ID surveys, coral nursery, wreck and lionfish dives. A percentage of dive charter proceeds benefit REEF’s ocean conservation programs. Visit www.reef.org/REEFFest2015/diving.

Free, educational seminar topics include Fish ID and Behavior, The Lives of Blennies, Coral Restoration, Grouper Moon, Invasive Lionfish, Sharks, and more.

All seminars area free, but pre-registration is recommended. Each is held at the Murray Nelson Government Center, MM 102 bayside. Visit www.reef.org/REEFFest2015/seminars.

Specially priced REEF Fest accommodations are available as several Key Largo hotels. For details, visit www.reef.org/REEFFest2015/lodging.

Event information: www.reef.org/REEFFest2015 or 305-852-0030