This page presents information on volunteer opportunities to help you get personally involved in coral reef conservation. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all relevant volunteer opportunities, but merely a place to begin your search.
NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program does not have any established regular volunteer opportunities. However, many of the National Marine Sanctuaries do have volunteer programs. Five sanctuaries contain coral reefs and several others contain deep-sea coral. In addition, REEF Surveys are conducted in eight sanctuaries.
CoralWatch: CoralWatch is an organization built on a research project at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. It has developed a cheap, simple, non-invasive method for monitoring coral bleaching and assessing coral health. CoralWatch, in partnership with Project AWARE Foundation, has registered over 500 CoralWatch monitoring locations worldwide making it easy for divers and snorkelers to get involved.
The Great Annual Fish Count: The Great Annual Fish Count is an event coordinated by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) that mobilizes and trains volunteer divers and snorkelers in established methodologies to identify and document fish diversity and population trends in marine ecosystems. This annual event takes place the month of July.
International Coastal Cleanup: In partnership with organizations and individuals across the globe, Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup engages people to remove trash and debris from the world's beaches and waterways, identify the sources of debris, and change the behaviors that cause marine debris in the first place.
Project AWARE Foundation: Project AWARE Foundation is a nonprofit environmental organization working with divers to conserve underwater environments through education, advocacy and action. It is dedicated to addressing the devastating impacts of marine debris and coordinates global beach and underwater cleanups year round.
Reef Check Foundation: Reef Check Foundation is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation of two ecosystems, one of which is tropical coral reefs. Since 1996, it has been building a global network of volunteer teams trained in Reef Check's scientific methods who regularly monitor and report on reef health. Reef Check is always looking for volunteers; whether you are located in Southern California or the South Pacific, and if you are a diver or not, Reef Check teams around the world can use your help.
Reef Environmental Education Foundation: The Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) enlists volunteers in a number of projects, including the Great Annual Fish Count listed above and its Volunteer Survey Project.
Ridge to Reef Expeditions: Ridge to Reef Expeditions offers team expeditions and individual placements working on conservation projects in southern Belize. Projects contribute to a landscape-scale conservation program that includes coral reef monitoring, watershed management and marine and terrestrial biodiversity monitoring. The volunteer program is designed and run by the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), a Belizean conservation NGO that co-manages multiple marine and terrestrial protected areas in partnership with the Government of Belize. Data produced by volunteers feeds into adaptive management and all proceeds go to conservation. Training in SCUBA diving and scientific techniques is provided and university accreditation may be arranged. University groups are welcomed and study abroad programs can be tailored to specific needs.
Tropical Research And Conservation Centre: The Tropical Research And Conservation Centre (TRACC) is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to conservation of coral reefs. Volunteer opportunities are available in Borneo for coral reef regeneration, reef sharks and marine turtles.
World Oceans Day: Held each year on June 8, World Oceans Day provides an opportunity to celebrate our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea. The Ocean Project, working closely with the World Ocean Network each year, helps to coordinate events and activities with aquariums, zoos, museums, conservation organizations, universities, schools, businesses. Each year, registered events are posted on the site; volunteers can search for local events and contact the coordinator.