By Jack Salisbury, Chairman
Ocean Reef Conservation Association

The Ocean Reef Conservation Association is now in its fourteenth year of supporting conservation and education in the Keys and South Florida. While attending this year’s All Charities event I was again struck by the incredible generosity and caring of the Ocean Reef Community.

The Ocean Reef Conservation Association consists of a seven person volunteer board that meets periodically to review grant and scholarship requests. Expenses to administer the organization are less than 2% a year. 100% of all funds provided to the Conservation Association are distributed off the Reef and since it’s inception has awarded over $2 Million in grants.

Recent grants have included: monitoring Roseate Spoonbill nesting success, beach clean up of the Turtle nesting area in Biscayne National Park, mooring ball installations in John Pennecamp State Park and FL Keys National Marine Sanctuary, sponge restoration and planting in Florida Bay, Coral Restoration at Carysfort Reef, invasive Lionfish eradication, marine ecology education for teachers and students in upper Keys schools and support of the Everglades Foundation Literacy Program that is offered in 22 Florida School Districts to provide the next generation the knowledge to continue restoration efforts.

Each year the Conservation Association awards four year partial scholarships to graduating seniors from Keys High Schools. They need to be pursuing a degree in the areas of marine and environmental science and must maintain a 3.0 GPA. To date 63 scholarships have been awarded totaling $430,000 with 17 currently in effect. The Conservation Association has developed good working relationships with the State and National Parks that surround us and the many organizations that we support. The Ocean Reef Communities support of All Charities has enabled us to continue our efforts to protect and preserve the environment that is the foundation for our “Unique Way of Life”.