Archive for 10/02/2011

Paul Ivice – 

Because of increasing interest lately in the Florida Everglades, the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center has developed a range of educational programs for the thousands of schoolchildren who will visit the center this school year.

Of the 50,000 or so people a year who visit the center, which began leasing its 57-acre site on Hutchinson Island from Martin County in 1985, about 2,500 are students and their teachers, usually in groups of 25 to 50.

Center Executive Director Mark Perry gave River Coalition members a little tease of the new programs at their meeting Thursday at Stuart City Hall.

Perry also talked about the River Coalition’s new River Kidz program and introduced its two founding members — 11-year-olds Naia Mader and Evie Flaugh.

Students still will get to spend time observing and interacting with the turtles, fish and other wildlife during their field trips to the center at 890 N.E. Ocean Blvd.

Since it opened in 2006 the 750,000-gallon lagoon that serves as a habitat for dozens of marine animals is one of the center’s most popular features.

“It’s such an incredible facility,” said Ellie Van Os, the center’s director of education and exhibits. “There are so many opportunities because we have the fish and the habitat and the great water coming from the ocean.”

The lagoon also is used to help educated anglers “to know what they’re looking for and what they should not catch,” Van Os said.

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World Wire – 

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation launches its final mission of coral reef research in the Bahamas, concluding the first year of its ambitious Global Reef Expedition. Having completed research in Cay Sal Bank, Hogsty Reef, and the Inaguas earlier this year, the Foundation now turns to Andros and Abaco islands to study sites that were last surveyed more than a decade ago.

The Global Reef Expedition is the first world-wide mapping and research assessment of coral reefs. The chairman of the Living Oceans Foundation, Prince Khaled bin Sultan, said an expedition of this scale “will greatly assist the world in understanding coral reefs, their health and critical role in the environment. Our research will produce maps of previously uncharted areas and provide management recommendations urgently needed to preserve these valuable ocean resources. We are involving local scientists in all of our research and exploration. ”

Andros contains the longest barrier reef in the Bahamas and the third largest in the world. The Foundation’s science team, joined by Bahamian researchers, will identify the abundance, size, and health of reef building coral species as well as discovering how the reef has recovered from coral bleaching events in 1998.

The Foundation’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Andrew Bruckner, said , “Our research will lead to improvements in existing habitat maps and will help recent efforts to develop a land and sea use plan for the entire island including zoning of sensitive areas.”

The Foundation will survey unstudied sites around the central Abaco islands as well as some that were last surveyed in 1999 which will yield important time-change information. The reefs of central Abaco are near areas of high population density and high user pressure which contrasts sharply with other reefs the Foundation has surveyed in the Bahamas, helping to further understand human impacts on reef health.

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John Rousmaniere – 

Anybody hoping for a happier second act in life will find inspiration—as well as caution—in the story of Captain Joshua Slocum (1844-1908). Praised by Theodore Roosevelt as the hero “who takes his little boat, without any crew but himself, all around the world,” Slocum stimulated thousands to change their lives with his 1900 book, Sailing Alone Around the World, which recounts that adventure.

That Geoffrey Wolff tells this story knowledgably and sympathetically should be no surprise. He is, after all, the author of The Duke of Deception, Black Sun and other books about tipping points in the male ego.

Wolff is also a fine writer who understands how another fine writer could produce one of the very best books ever about going to sea.

Slocum initially went to sea not for romance, but to escape his father’s beatings and the tiny Nova Scotia island of his childhood. For years he thrived as a captain of commercial sailing ships. But by his fortieth birthday, steam was supplanting sail, so he lost his livelihood.

Then he lost his wife—the only person who ever loved and understood him. At 50 years old, the former clipper-ship captain was working on shore as a carpenter when a friend offered him an ancient and decrepit 37-foot fishing sloop. As Slocum rebuilt Spray, he devised a daring plan.

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