Weekly News Digest from Mote

8-1-08 Friday's News @ Mote
Published Friday, August 1, 2008

_Future Eagle Scout Hard at Work
A Life Scout from Boy Scouts of America Troop 14 of the Two Rivers District has been hard at work on Mote's campus since July 21. 17-year-old James Farley of Sarasota has committed to rebuilding the entrance, front deck, wooden stairs and ramp at Mote's Martin Hall Marine Education Resource Center as part of his Eagle Project. This leadership project is a final requirement to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout this summer.

James' ambitious plan includes demolition of the existing structure, working with architectural drawings, sheparding the building permit processes with Mote's facilities staff, securing materials, pouring concrete and constructing the new deck area, ramp and stairs. The building materials were donated by Genova Products owned by longtime Mote supporter Bob Williams, a seasonal resident of Longboat Key. Hoyt Architects and JF Construction also contributed their time and expertise.

A scout since the age of twelve and recent graduate from Sarasota High School, James chose the project at Mote because he wanted to make a contribution to help kids learn about the sea. The project possibility developed through discussions with current high school intern Kaleigh Hoyt, her father Gary Hoyt owner of Hoyt Architects and Mote's Educators who utilize the building.

High school-aged scouts from the area have helped with physical labor, but the project is lead and managed by James, whose father John Farley is a general contractor and owner of JF Construction. James is enjoying himself as well. "I'm enjoying gaining such real world experience with this construction project and look forward to continuing to fine-tune my leadership skills during the process," he said.

"The final scout project is the culmination of leadership skills developed during advancement through ranks," says Hoyt who is also Council Chairman of Finance for the Southwest Florida Council and an Eagle Scout himself. The Southwest Florida Council, which encompasses the area from Manatee to Collier County including the Two Rivers District of Sarasota, Charlotte and Desoto Counties, delivers the scouting program to over 32,000 children annually.

Mote's Vice President of Facilities Derek Templeton has been very impressed with James' work. "This young man is extremely capable and conscientious. He is making great progress and we are excited that his leadership project will leave a lasting legacy at Mote and the communities we serve."

Upon the completion of the structures, James will reach the prestigious level of Eagle Scout and plans to enter the United States Navy immediately following the project.

James expects to finish the task in the next 1-2 weeks and will be working from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Mote's main campus on most days until completion of the job. Media is invited to visit the site at Mote to interview or photograph James next week, Monday-Friday and phone interviews can be coordinated through Jamie Tacy.

_The Polyp Post/International Year of the Reef
2008 is the International Year of the Reef, designated to help raise public awareness about the importance of coral reefs to the world's oceans. For several months, Mote has highlighted reef facts and/or information about current research programs to get the word out about reefs - especially the one here in Florida's backyard. While we will no longer be sending out weekly items of interest via The Polyp Post, there are many story opportunities available year-round focused in Mote's Center for Coral Reef Research:

Microbiology Field work
Coral sampling takes place monthly at Mote's Tropical Research Laboratory based in Summerland Key, Fla. Researchers dive on specific coral sites to gather a sample of coral mucus to bring back to the lab for analysis. Visuals include underwater images/video of researchers gathering samples on Looe Key Reef, then bringing it back to the lab for study. Laboratory study involves using pipettes to place bacterial samples in Petri dishes.

Florida Keys BleachWatch
Training of groups of volunteer divers takes place approximately twice a year. After training, the volunteers - usually dive charter staff members and interested individuals - then use their own resources to gather information and report back to Mote. Volunteers are mainly responsible for taking water samples and physically diving specific reef areas on a regular basis to look for coral bleaching. Visuals include underwater images/video of volunteers taking notations underwater on reef conditions, as well at topside images of volunteers gathering water samples. The program is based at Mote's Summerland Key Tropical Research Laboratory but volunteers operate from various locations in the Florida Keys.

Coral Nursery
Mote staff members grow corals in an aquarium setting, changing parameters to create the best growing conditions possible. Visuals would include top-side photos of corals in aquariums and staff members feeding them and possibly changing light settings. Research takes place at Mote's Summerland Key Tropical Research Laboratory. Occasionally there may also be opportunities to watch coral fragments being replaced into the wild. Many people are unaware that corals are animals and not plants.

Long-spined Sea Urchin Research
Mote adjunct staff grow these urchins at a private laboratory in Key Largo, Fla. Urchins are then put into the ocean in several study locations, and monitored regularly for survival. Visuals include top-side shots of the urchin nursery and underwater images/video of scientists placing urchins in the ocean using tongs or counting and monitoring the animals in the ocean.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Jamie Tacy, Public Relations Coordinator; e-mail: jtacy@mote.org; cell: 941-302-4335

About Us

Mote Marine Laboratory has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955. Today, we incorporate public outreach as a key part of our mission. Mote is an independent nonprofit organization and has seven centers for marine research, the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division specializing in public programs for all ages.

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