On Saturday April 25th, 2009, the headquarters of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), located in Key Largo, Florida, will be dedicated in honor James E. Lockwood. The dedication ceremony will be held at the historic conch house located in the median of Highway 1 at Mile Marker 99.8 from 1 - 3pm.

3 Paths That Merged Into One

About The Benefactor

Born in Racine, Wisconsin in 1910, James E. Lockwood was one of the dive industry’s pioneers. An intrepid explorer and archaeologist, he developed a patented SCUBA system that used rebreather technology in 1938, five years before Jacques Cousteau developed the aqualung. During the 1930’s Lockwood developed, built and used an underwater camera housing that was later used in the Tarzan movies. He also built the underwater film sets for both Tarzan and 20 Thousand Leagues under the Sea. Additionally, he piloted submarines down the Mississippi, negotiated for hostage release with Castro, and explored and documented shipwrecks and ruins around the world. He was editor of Undersea Digest, an early 1950’s dive magazine.

About The Historic Conch House

The Conch House was built in 1913, about the same time James E. Lockwood was born. It has survived over six major hurricanes, is believed to be the oldest house in Key Largo, and at one time housed the oldest resident of Key Largo. At one point the property was a Key Lime plantation. The house is built of Dade County Pine, which is extremely hard and termite resistant. The water tower and cistern on the property will be refurbished to functionality, to enable us to reduce the impact that REEF Headquarters facilities have on the limited natural resources in the Florida Keys.

It is fitting that such a building of distinction, strength and honor should bear the name of James E. Lockwood.

About Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)

REEF was founded in 1990, and the first fish identification surveys were conducted in 1993. Key Largo’s homegrown environmental 501 (c) (3) now houses the world’s largest fish sightings database, with 125,000 surveys and counting. Over 55 scientific research papers have been written using REEF data, with over 35,000 REEF volunteer divers contributing to this increasingly important database. In addition to the Diver Survey Project, REEF is also involved in the assessment of the Nassau Grouper spawning aggregations (the Grouper Moon Project), which has employed ground breaking strategies to asses breeding, migration and tagging strategies. REEF is also the catalyst for the Invasive Lionfish Project.

For a small environmental non-profit group the gift by James E. Lockwood will go a long way in helping us to protect, educate and enable divers, snorkelers and armchair enthusiasts to make the world a better place.

Through the generosity of James E. Lockwood, REEF will be undertaking several programs and projects in the upcoming months.

These will include:

  • Refurbishing of the 1913 building that houses REEF’s headquarters
  • Revamping our Outreach and Field Station programs
  • Upgrading REEF's technology capabilities