The Longboat Key Club recently donated $12,275 to the Colonel Richard D. Crosby, Jr. Memorial Veterans Fund at Mote Marine Laboratory, which helps support the many activities and programs in which Mote pro-actively engages with veterans, such as its Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge coral restoration initiative.

Since 2012, Mote has partnered with the Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge and SCUBAnauts International for a unique coral restoration initiative that enables citizen science volunteers and veterans to participate in cutting-edge marine habitat restoration.

Mote’s underwater coral nursery is growing more than 10,000 colonies of threatened staghorn coral for replanting on decimated or damaged sections of reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

To date, Mote has planted more than 16,000 staghorn coral fragments to help restore Florida’s reef. Since 2012, members of SCUBAnauts International and the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge have planted 1,600 corals.

“I’ve often been struck by the support we receive from communities near and far, as we undertake our mission to lead the world in promoting science-based marine resource conservation,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President & CEO of Mote. “I want to thank the Longboat Key Club for their continued support of Mote and for supporting our mission to engage and connect with our veterans through this fund in honor of my late father.”

The donation is a result of proceeds raised from the Longboat Key Club’s sixth annual Bacchus on the Beach Stone Crab Celebration & Winemaker Auction, which was held on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2016, on the beach at The Resort at Longboat Key Club. Longboat Key Club wanted to support a veterans’ cause, and Mote’s involvement with veterans on both these projects presented the perfect fit.

The popular event Bacchus on the Beach is an annual celebration of food and wine known for its outstanding selection of premium vintages, specialty spirits and local craft brews all featured as a complement to the reason for the season – stone crabs! A feast for food-lovers and wine aficionados, the event presents a one-of-a-kind live auction showcasing select wines, dining experiences and unique travel and adventure packages. Proceeds from the recent auction were donated to Mote. Mark your calendar for this year’s Bacchus on the Beach events, Nov. 9-10, 2017.