The Board of Directors of Reef Check Foundation is excited to welcome Dr. Jan Freiwald as its new Executive Director. Jan has led Reef Check’s California (RCCA) program for the past eight years, growing it into a vibrant, state-wide marine protected area (MPA) monitoring network at over a hundred sites with hundreds of volunteer citizen scientists. He has expanded Reef Check’s work by implementing a climate change research project and will be applying his experience growing the RCCA program to continue growing the Reef Check Foundation globally. In Jan’s words, “I am excited about taking on the leadership of the Reef Check Foundation and I am looking forward to working with the Reef Check teams worldwide.”
Jan is replacing Dr. Gregor Hodgson, Reef Check’s founder, who retired at the end of March. Dr. Hodgson led the foundation for the past 21 years since designing the first ever all-volunteer, global scientific survey of the human impact on reefs. The first worldwide survey was carried out in 1997 and Reef Check is still the only globally standardized survey methodology used to monitor coral reefs. Since then over 10,000 divers have been trained and certified in this methodology and more than 12,000 reefs in 101 countries & territories have been surveyed. Reef Check’s protocol is the most widely used by MPA managers globally to track impacts on reefs and to engage local fishermen, students and government staff to learn about and begin the process of marine conservation.