TREASURE COAST BOATING
it and your connection to it. Once you do, we’ve got them.
Basically, children are our future advocates to help protect it.”
A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
The Florida Oceanographic Society provides a wide assortment
of educational programs for young and old
alike. Six presentations that inspire environmental
stewardship are given daily at the center.
The nonprofit’s Coastal Lecture Series is
held during winter months. Scientists
lecture on a variety of topics including
sea turtles, sharks, blue-green algae
blooms, intensification of hurricanes
and environmental history stories.
And if you cannot attend in person,
the lectures are recorded so you can
view them online.
The center is a valuable educational
outreach for the area’s K-12 students.
Jud says the center coordinates
with teachers to develop field trips and
live, online programs that reinforce various
topics that are taught in the classroom.
Many fish are on
It also receives grants so it can provide field
trips for the region’s underserved.
“On a regular basis, we have teachers who let
us know that some of their students have never seen the
ocean,” Jud says. “They live 10 miles from the beach in St.
Lucie or Martin County. So we get them out here touching
a stingray or interacting with a sea cucumber, and those are
life-changing experiences for kids. We don’t expect every
student to become a scientist. We just want them to become
The nonprofit also partners with and provides educational
programs to colleges across the country and around the
world. Students come to the center to complete internships or
work on research projects in animal life support and conservation
efforts. The center streams live lessons and educational
webinars in university lecture halls.
Additionally, during the summer months
the center offers fishing clinics for children,
snorkeling and marine science summer
camps. Older children and adults can
enjoy the educational beach walks,
nature trail walks and well-attended
turtle walks where guests can get up
close and watch a mother sea turtle
dig a nest and lay its eggs.
As Perry looks around at the new
Ocean EcoCenter, he’s excited that
the expansion will make a positive
impact on area waterways. In recent
years, the discharges from Lake
Okeechobee and the resulting algae
blooms have devastated the Indian River
Lagoon. Perry stresses that getting the message
out to protect this fragile ecosystem is more
important than ever.
“During a visit to the Coastal Center, we teach people
about the animals that live locally and about the problems
that are affecting our local waterways,” he says. “We hope
that when people leave here, they have a new appreciation
for what’s wrong, but also a new knowledge about what they
can do to make a difference to try and help.”
GREGORY ENNS PHOTOS
At the touch tank exhibits, children learn to overcome their fear of the environment by getting up close and interacting with marine life for the first time.