On Oct. 10, Mote Marine Laboratory opened its Boca Grande Outreach Office for the 2017-18 season — marking the fifth anniversary year for this regional hub of marine science outreach. This season, Mote’s Boca campus will host a fifth-year-anniversary celebration, weekly “Coffee with a Scientist” sessions in March covering various ocean topics and a Science Café at Gasparilla Inn’s Beach Club. All events will be free to the public with RSVP requested. Mote.org/events will be updated as event dates and details are finalized.
“This year marks an important milestone for our Boca Grande Outreach Office as we celebrate its fifth anniversary, ” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President and CEO of Mote. “Mote was founded in this region more than six decades ago. As our marine science and conservation efforts expanded to five Florida campuses, we were fortunate to retain our roots in this community, continue our research along this important stretch of coastal ocean, and — with our Boca Grande Outreach Office — reinforce our commitment to help residents and visitors learn about and support these beautiful and critical ecosystems in their backyards.”
In 1955 Dr. Eugenie Clark opened Mote Marine Laboratory, then called Cape Haze Marine Laboratory, in the Charlotte Harbor area. As the Lab’s founding director, Clark earned the nickname “Shark Lady” due to her innovative studies of sharks and other fishes.
In 2013, Mote opened its Boca Grande Outreach Office with the goal of reinvigorating its partnership with the community to conserve and protect the famous Charlotte Harbor estuary. Mote scientists believe that strong, science-based conservation programs will play a critical role in preventing further decline in the Harbor’s health and in sustaining and restoring historical fish populations.
Today, Mote’s Boca Grande Outreach Office is designed to be a focal point and resource where residents and visitors can learn more about Mote’s research efforts — particularly with locally significant topics such as fisheries and red tide. The office also features tanks simulating both coral reef and mangrove ecosystems. While marine and coastal research have always been Mote’s core functions, the Lab places an ever-growing emphasis on translating research for positive impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources for the benefit of local to international communities.
Earlier this year an anonymous donor offered a $100,000 donation to be matched by the Boca Grande community. This Challenge will support Mote scientists’ efforts to expand their red tide-related research and outreach efforts in Boca Grande. To date Mote has raised approximately half of what is needed for this philanthropic challenge and has until the end of 2017 to raise the remainder of the funds.
Mote’s Boca Grande Outreach Office is located at 480 East Railroad Ave., Railroad Plaza, Boca Grande. Office hours vary by season. Please visit mote.org/boca for more information or contact this office directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-855-9251.