Reef Relief

About Reef Relief

Mission Statement
Reef Relief is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to improving and protecting our coral reef ecosystem.

Our Goals
• Focus on rigorous science to educate the public & advocacy toward policymakers to achieve conservation, protection, and restoration of coral reefs
• Increase public awareness of the importance and value of living coral reef ecosystems
• Increase scientific understanding and knowledge of living coral reef ecosystems
• Strengthen grassroots community-based efforts to protect coral reef ecosystems
• Design, develop, support, and help implement strategies for marine protected areas associated with coral reef ecosystems
• Encourage and support eco-tourism as part of sustainable community development that protects and preserves coral reef ecosystems
• Strengthen our organizational capacity to carry out our mission

Founded: 1987

Key Achievements: 34 Years of Conservation
Reef Relief has a 34 year history of successful education and conservation programs that began with the installation of mooring buoys, later turned over to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary system. Photographs and video of underwater transects helped scientists report on changes at the reef and discover new coral diseases. The online archive includes more than 10,000 images. We have supported the creation of marine protected areas such as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Negril (Jamaica) Marine Park. We have helped establish programs throughout the Caribbean, including installing mooring buoys.

Since then Reef Relief has created and managed Key West Marine Park making it accessible to students as a living classroom, design of the Reef Relief Environmental Visitor Center, the Discover Coral Reefs School Program and Coral Camp for Kids spring and summer program.

Our successful volunteer projects have included the removal of tens of thousands of pounds of marine debris (more than 164,800lbs. since hurricane Irma). In partnership with the City of Key West and Monroe County, Florida, the Stormwater Education Program improves nearshore water quality in the Florida Keys. We have worked with more than 200 businesses to educate their clients on the importance of reduce single use plastics through our Skip the Straw project and Protect Your Skin, Protect Our Reef safe sunscreen education effort.

The Coral Reef Conservation Program places a special focus on youth education as an important, initial step in saving endangered marine ecosystems. The Discover Coral Reefs School Program primarily teaches over 6,000 students the value and importance of their local coral reef ecosystem and ways to be positive environmental stewards through interactive classroom presentations, question and answer sessions, and demonstrations. Since the pandemic, we have worked tirelessly to convert our school program to a virtual format and are ready to continue to exceed our program goals. Each lesson is paired with a corresponding activity which includes over 60 original worksheets that our staff has created since March, at home experiments, arts and craft activities, and interviews with marine scientists. Reef Relief also offers a unique educational opportunity through our Coral Camp for Kids Program.Coral Camp is a fun, engaging environmental camp that expands the knowledge of 260 youths, ages 6-14, on a variety of marine science topics through lessons and activities at the Reef Relief Environmental Center. We also take daily field trips including four days of snorkel excursions in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

The Reef Relief Environmental Education Center is for tourists and locals to visit and learn about the Florida Barrier Reef. The center teaches the public about marine ecosystems, threats, and ways to protect coral. Our center targets over 3 million tourists in Key West each year. Reef Relief provides additional outreach by distributing educational brochures that focuses on safe practices for boaters, snorkelers, divers, and fishermen. We offer these to Chambers of Commerce, resorts, hotels, marinas, dive shops, boat charters, and visitor centers throughout Florida. Our website,, is an extensive coral reef education resource that is visited on average by 50,000 people per month. We also educate a growing network of over 67,000 people through social media platforms.

Reef Relief is a registered 501(c)3 organization.


Coral Camp Summer Intern

May 2018 - August 2018 Key West, FL
“I got to spend every day with kiddos and teach them about ocean health! We went snorkeling on coral reefs five days per week :)”
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