oid1426-main-1350505731Reef Check Foundation, a southern California based non-profit organization, won the international Katerva Award for Ecosystem Conservation for its innovative citizen scientist reef monitoring and conservation approach. Winners were announced on January 30, 2013. Reef Check’s mission is to empower local communities through grassroots research, conservation, and education to protect and rehabilitate reefs worldwide. Through its Tropical Reefs, Baja California, and California programs, Reef Check has grown into the largest global reef monitoring organization, a feat that is now being recognized by the Katerva Awards.

The Katerva Award is billed as the Nobel Prize in sustainability, where “the best ideas on the planet are identified, refined and accelerated for global impact” (Katerva, katerva.org). According to Terry Waghorn, founder and CEO of Katerva, “Today’s unprecedented challenges require a new kind of organization, one that optimizes the world’s unprecedented interconnectedness, prioritizes action and systematically taps the most innovative ideas on the planet. Katerva is that organization: designed to convene, catalyze and accelerate breakthrough solutions to global challenges.”

In winning this 2012 Katerva Award, Reef Check Foundation has thus been named the world’s top Ecosystem Conservation organization.

“We are overjoyed and very honored to have won the 2012 Katerva Award for Ecosystem Conservation in recognition of more than a decade of work to conserve reef ecosystems worldwide. This award is a testament to the passion and dedicated effort of more than 30,000 volunteers and hundreds of partners and supporters in over 90 countries and territories around the world who have undergone rigorous training so that they can carry out scientific surveys of reef condition, produce standardized data, and help governments sustainably manage their local reefs. This direct action by citizen scientists has resulted in slowing the decline of reef ecosystems and in many cases helped to return reefs to their natural condition. This award renews our resolve to continue our global efforts to improve reef status against alarming predictions of rapid climate change,” says Reef Check’s Executive Director, Dr. Gregor Hodgson.

With this award in hand Reef Check hopes to catalyze the energy, awareness and passion of new supporters and partners to further grow our worldwide efforts to conserve reefs as one of the world’s leading ecosystem conservation organizations.

Founded in 1996 by marine ecologist Dr. Gregor Hodgson, Reef Check Foundation is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation of two ecosystems: tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs. Reef Check programs provide ecologically sound and economically sustainable solutions to save reefs, by creating partnerships among community volunteers, government agencies, businesses, universities and other nonprofits. The Reef Check California program, established in 2005, continues the organization’s global mission locally by empowering California’s ocean enthusiasts, through education, training and community engagement, to become active stewards of California’s marine environments.  For more information, visit www.ReefCheck.org.