December 16, 2011

Letter From the Director December 2011


By Reef Check’s Executive Director Dr. Gregor Hodgson

This year, thanks to your generous support, over one thousand Reef Check volunteers in California and in over 90 countries and territories around the world have been working hard to save our rocky and coral reefs. 

In 2011, our California volunteers tracked the health of rocky reef ecosystems at over 80 sites and helped to alert State agencies when the Sonoma coast abalone die-off started. Our teams of research divers helped to determine the locations where abalone were killed and continue to assist in the search for the cause associated with massive algal blooms. In the tropics, Reef Check dive teams carried out the first post-earthquake survey of coral reefs in Haiti. We are working to set up the first Marine Protected Areas in the country and to promote the potential of the reefs of Haiti to help save lives through food production. Our work to carry out the first comprehensive survey of Haiti’s reefs and to train the first team of Haitian Reef Check divers was featured in a print and video story in the New York Times.

So many generous supporters like you came together this year with a shared sense of purpose and a common goal: to save our reefs and oceans. We could not be more grateful for your support or more proud of what we have accomplished together.

With your help, in 2011, our carefully collected scientific data was used locally and nationally to help make important decisions regarding how to better manage coral reefs internationally and to check the status of newly declared Marine Protected Areas in California. We also helped to design national marine monitoring programs in the Bahamas and Brunei. And we continue to assist the government of Mexico to establish sustainable fisheries across three regions of the country. Our education efforts helped create awareness for hundreds of children from tropical countries by showing them first hand – with a mask and snorkel – the beauty and importance of reefs.

We could not have done this important work without you!


Sadly, the threats facing our reefs and oceans continue and our work has just begun. I hope I can count on you to make a special year-end gift to help support our work both here in California and internationally. Your gift today, either by making a donation or becoming a Premium member of the Reef Check Foundation, will help support our efforts in conservation, education, and research. It doesn’t cost a lot to make a real difference:

$25 can provide training materials for a Reef Check EcoDiver in Haiti.
$50 purchases survey materials for an entire reef monitoring team in the Caribbean.
$100 can cover the boat cost for 1 diver’s reef survey in California.
$250 covers the cost of a kids training in Southeast Asia.

Now more than ever, we need your help. Twenty percent of the world’s reefs have already been destroyed, and of the reefs remaining, 35% are in immediate danger. In the coming year, we need your financial support to continue our important work and protect and monitor reef and ocean health. Remember, for every dollar donated, it is multiplied many times by thousands of volunteers in California and around the world.


Dr. Gregor Hodgson
Reef Check Executive Director