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Leda Cunningham

Executive Director of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)


Leda Cunningham runs the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), a non-profit organization that engages scuba divers and snorkelers in marine conservation and citizen science. Based in Key Largo, Florida, REEF links the diving community with scientists, resource managers and conservationists through marine life data collection and related activities. Its flagship program, the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, has trained and involved more than 10,000 divers and snorkelers to collect in situ population and distribution data, resulting in one of the largest marine life databases in the world, with more than

105,000 surveys conducted to date. Resource agencies and scientists increasingly use this information to address a variety of questions. REEF also organizes outreach and education activities for a wide audience of non-divers, including students, fishermen and “armchair explorers.” Prior to REEF, Leda worked on the Conserve Our Ocean Legacy campaign at the National Environmental Trust in Washington, DC to mobilize the U.S. diving community in support of sustainable fisheries policies. Leda holds an MBA and a Masters in Global Environmental Policy from American University. She was the 2005 recipient of the Dolores E. Fisher Award for marine conservation.


Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research... this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.

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