I know it has been a while since I’ve been able to get you a regional update but the information I have for you is worth the wait.

Love is in the Air

First and foremost, mark your calendars, February 15, is our next Regional Outing entitled “Love is in the Air.” In the morning we will be touring our nation’s first National Wildlife Refuge, Pelican Island aboard their e-tram. Refuge Ranger, Kevin Lowery, will be presenting information on the various resident and migratory birds that utilize Pelican Island for resting and breeding. We will then have lunch provided by FMSEA. After lunch we will travel seven miles north of Pelican Island to explore the Barrier Island Center & Sanctuary. We will take a comprehensive look at the ecology of the barrier island from the ocean to the lagoon. Our hike will take us through several ecosystems including rare maritime hammock habitat. I hope you will be able to join us for this exciting day of information and exploration. More details will be available as the date approaches.

But I Can’t Wait That Long

Whether you just can’t wait to get to Pelican Island or you won’t be able to join us on the February 15, you can still see what Pelican Island has to offer. Back by popular demand, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge’s FREE Wildlife Tours are scheduled every Wednesday from November to March at 8 a.m.  Space is limited.  Reservations will only be taken on a month by month basis this year. Reservations for January’s tours begin on December 1, etc.   For more information call 772-581-5557, and follow them on Facebook for upcoming special events at: facebook.com/PelicanIslandNWR

Insert ‘The Who’ Song Here

Also, don’t forget that the FMSEA 2014 Conference is April 24-27 in Panama City Beach. The theme this year is PCSI: PANAMA CITY BEACH, SCIENCE AND INVESTIGATION. More information can be found at the website and registration will begin in January. Also, remember that FMSEA members are eligible for scholarships to attend professional development, like this conference. Just be sure to apply at least 60 days before the event date so February 21, will be the deadline for conference scholarships.

Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Hopefully you can join this adventure to paddle the length of the Indian River Lagoon with tipping your canoe. The mission of the Indian River Lagoon Paddle Adventure is to generate more excitement, passion and awareness for our nation’s greatest estuary. Participation in this adventure will help increase levels of IRL awareness, stewardship, and education; it will also create the building blocks needed to better secure the foundation of the IRL’s conservation community. Join one or all the legs of this journey from the north to the south of the Indian River Lagoon, November 30-December 18. Visit www.irl-paddle-adventure.com for more information and an itinerary of events.

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Fishmas

The Barrier Island Center in Melbourne Beach has lots of exciting events planned for holiday season. Visit www.barrierislandcenter.com for more information.

  • “Sea Stars” Touch Tank – Wednesday, November 27th @ 11 a.m. Enjoy the day off from school by feeling a sea squirt squirt as our invertebrate friends literally change trash to treasure, filtering seawater. Also enjoy a hands-on experience with our charismatic crabs, sea stars, and urchins.
  • Mermaid’s Purse Gift Shop Open House and Sale – Friday, November 29th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Shop for gifts with a special meaning… saving sea turtles! Enjoy refreshments, 10% off one regular priced item (through December 1st) receive a free gift while supplies last with a sea turtle adoption and free eco-gift wrap!
  • Trot off the Turkey” Hike – Saturday, November 30th @ 10 a.m. Join Vince Lamb, Florida Master Naturalist, for a guided 1 mile, ocean to lagoon, walk through the habitats of the barrier island seeking sea purslane, goldenrod, and other terrestrial treasures! Please call to make a reservation.

Check out this flyer for all their exciting December events.

I’m Starting to Feel Like Bartholomew Cubbins

I’ve added another hat to the many that I wear but this one will benefit you as well. I am pleased to announce that I have been asked to serve as the regional leader for the National Network for Oceans and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI). NNOCCI’s goal is to establish a national network of professionals who are skilled in communicating climate science to the American public. I will be bringing one day climate change workshops to our area as well as keeping you informed of the latest NNOCCI news. Applications for participating in the NNOCCI Study Circles will open in February.

Things Are Heating Up

Speaking of climate change, I’m also involved with NOAA’s Climate Steward Education Project and now you can be too. Do you want to:

  • Learn more about climate science
  • investigate innovative teaching methods
  • become part of a vibrant learning community?

Then you should be a NOAA Climate Steward!

NOAA’s Climate StewardsEducation Project (CSEP) provides formal and informal educators working with elementary through university age students with sustained professional development, collaborative tools, and support to build a climate-literate public that is actively engaged in climate stewardship.

Find more about CSEP and find out how to apply online, Watch the introduction to CSEP video on the CSEP homepage, the link to the online application is at the end of the video.

Would You Like a GIFT?

And if you still haven’t had your fill of climate change opportunities how about a trip to Austria?

The 2014 GIFT (Geosciences Information for Teachers) workshop will take place on April 28 – 30, 2014 during the General Assembly of EGU in Vienna, Austria. The general theme of the workshop is: Our Changing Planet and it will explore some of the recent complex changes of our environment, particularly in the framework of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Again this year, the generous William Goree Award will support the participation of a teacher from the United States in the 2014 GIFT Symposium at the 2014 European Geosciences Union General Assembly. The selected teacher will receive a travel /hotel stipend and free registration to the meeting.

The participating teacher will be selected based on their teaching experience and the supporting statement from their school administration. The selected teacher will be expected to attend the entire workshop and submit a report within 1 year after the workshop on their impression of the workshop and how they plan to use this experience in their future teaching activities.

Application Deadline: December 6th. The selected teacher will be notified by December 15th.
Click here for the application.
Direct any questions to Missy Holzer, NESTA President, at mholzer@monmouth.com

Cool it with all the Climate Change

Another great resource on climate change education is Climate Change LIVE. They not only have great resource on their site but are also hosting a six part webinar with lots of great information on climate change and teaching resources. Even though they have already completed three of the webinars you can still catch up as they have all been archived. You can also sign up for the next one using the information below.

To register for webinar 4 go to: http://www.nwf.org/Eco-Schools-USA/About-Eco-Schools-USA/Webinar-Series.aspx

December 11, 2013 – 7:30-9 p.m. EST: Climate Change LIVE Education Resources Highlights – Part 2. Presenters: National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Climate Change LIVE distance learning adventure, brings you a wealth of climate change education resources and programs from 17 federal agencies and non-profit organizations!  We offer educators, a source of trusted, science-based materials, which are correlated to science education standards.

This webinar highlights climate change education resources from three of our partners.  Eco-Schools USA is a free K12 program of the National Wildlife Federation and a part of the International Eco-Schools network of over 50 countries world-wide.  Eco-Schools USA works to address sustainability on K12 campuses around the nation and focuses on 10 pathways guided by a 7 Step Framework.  The program is student driven and contains a 3-tiered awards system.  The U.S. Forest Service will highlight the Natural Inquirer science education journal’s Climate Collection which takes real-life Forest Service research, and engages students in the science inquiry method, along with activities tied to the research.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will highlight their Student Climate & Conservation Congress (SC3), held yearly in Shepherdstown WV.  SC3 brings together a diverse network of students and teachers from all over the country that are engaging in climate change education and solutions.

To sign up your class to participate in the Climate Change LIVE program: www.climatechangelive.org

For a link to all of our educational resources available through Climate Change LIVE: http://www.climatechangelive.org/index.php?pid=148

Get Money and Help the IRL

In anticipation of fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015) funding from the IRL NEP, please find the request for project proposals for the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program’s annual work plan.  The work plan objectives are to:

  • To fund projects that effectively implement the Action Plans identified within the updated 2008 Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). CCMP Action Plans may be viewed at http://floridaswater.com/itsyourlagoon/pdfs/CCMP_Update_2008_Final.pdf
  • To form partnerships with governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and other entities to improve the lagoon’s water quality; conserve, protect, restore and enhance the lagoon’s resources and natural habitats; and educate and inform residents and visitors about the fragile balance of the ecosystem and actions they can adopt to lessen negative personal impacts.
  • To comply with the intent of the Indian River Lagoon License Plate enabling legislation. A copy of this statute is available from the Indian River Lagoon Project Office.

The IRLNEP seeks projects identified as high priority by local stakeholders and as outlined in the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) and primarily funds three types of projects:

  • Restoration/water quality projects that implement changes designed to improve or protect water quality and habitat, reduce freshwater discharges and nutrient loadings.
  • Scientific projects that deliver technical information for use by managers throughout the lagoon region.
  • Outreach and education projects that raise awareness, improve understanding, and foster sustainable behaviors among a variety of stakeholder groups and target audiences.

Available funding is subject to Congressional appropriation to the U.S. EPA under Section 320 of the Clean Water Act for the National Estuary Program.  If appropriated funds are not sufficient, selected proposals will not be funded.

Project Proposal Applications must be received by 5:00 P.M. January 15, 2014.  Project Proposal Applications must be submitted in the format provided via email to: IRLNEP2014WorkPlanProposals@SJRWMD.com

The IRL NEP has scheduled a non-mandatory conference call on December 17, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. to facilitate proposal discussions.

To participate in the conference call DIAL 1-888-670-3525 CODE: 4084219682# on the date and time.

Pre-proposal discussions are encouraged.

If you wish to request additional funds for a currently-funded project, the same information requested in the attached application form is required.

Project presentations will be held in February 2014.

Please share this information with any other organizations whom you know may be interested in submitting a proposal.


There are two new phone apps. that just went “live” as part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. One app helps identify marine mammals and gives information about viewing them responsibly.

The other app is targeted at the public (but is also useful for stranding responders and friends) to help report a stranded marine mammal.

Features include:

– GPS coordinates in decimal degrees are displayed on the “Call to Report” page of the app (can be used in lieu of a handheld GPS to report stranding locations in your 24-hour or Level A reports).

– The “take a photo” function of the app takes a time/date/GPS coordinate stamped photo and saves it to your phone’s camera roll. This photo can be e-mailed/texted.

– The app contains a full field ID guide (adapted from the “Marine Mammals & Turtles of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico” by Wynne and Schwartz – SeaGrant publication) with images to aid in identification of stranded animals.

The SEE & ID Dolphins & Whales app is an electronic field guide that assists the public in identifying marine mammals in the Southeast U.S. and provide species information, such as physical description, biology, habitat, conservation/status and photos. The app also informs that public of appropriate ways to enjoy viewing marine mammals in the wild without harming or harassing them.

The apps are currently available for download on iTunes and in the Google Play store. They can be found by searching for them by name or at:

See & ID Dolphins & Whales– Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.noaa.see_id_dolphins_whales and iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/see-id-dolphins-whales/id699127250?mt=8

Dolphin & Whale 911– Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.noaa.dolphinwhale911 and iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dolphin-whale-911/id698859376?mt=8

For more information, visit: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/outreach_and_education/mm_apps/index.html

What’s up with the IRL?

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Symposium is the result of a multi-institutional, multiagency effort to provide a forum for discussing IRL science and its application to management of the lagoon. The symposium is open to scientists, decision makers, students, education and outreach professionals, and the interested public. The intent is to help facilitate better communication among these groups so that the gaps between research and its application can be narrowed. The theme for the 2014 symposium is Lagoon Biodiversity, although oral presentations and posters on all aspects of science relating to the IRL are encouraged. (8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) Register to attend here. Only $20/person ($10/student).
February 6, 2014
Although this meeting is open to anyone interested in sharing their knowledge, activities and ideas, contributions by university students and early-career professionals are encouraged. Technical sessions will be held on February 6 followed by a poster session (5:30 to 7:00 p.m.).

February 7, 2014
A Forum on Lagoon Health, open to all, will be held on February 7 (1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.). In the 2013 forum, there was a strong consensus that local communities need to come together and apply scientific approaches to address Lagoon issues. Much has happened in the ensuing year, including the formation of Indian River Lagoon Counties Collaborative, comprised of county commissioners from each of the six counties that border the Indian River Lagoon. At this year’s forum, the Collaborative will discuss their progress to date and plans for the future with all interested parties.

Explore the Underwater World Without Getting Wet

Check out the folks at OpenROV, a do-it-yourself, open-source underwater robot building program. After successfully raising money through an Internet campaign, they’ve developed a “low cost” kit that anyone can order to build a remotely operated vehicle. They just announced an new initiative for PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL teachers to receive an OpenROV kit at a greatly reduced price.


I’m a little bit Cameron, and I’m a little bit Jacques Cousteau

Weather you identify more with James Cameron or Jacques Cousteau, Florida Tech has the film festival for you. The inaugural Beneath the Waves – Youth Making Ripples Film Festival and Competition for K-12 students will take place January 18th from 6-8:15 on Florida Institute of Technologies main campus in the Gleason Performing Arts center. K-12 students have been working all semester on creating short (5 mins or less) marine science related films in preparation for the competition. The winning films will be chosen by viewer choice votes, and from a panel of scientific judges. The winning student films will have the chance to have their film debut to international audiences in film festivals around Europe. The event is being co-sponsored by Blue Life Foundation and the Brevard Zoo. Please come and vote for your favorite film! Prizes will be awarded to the winning student films and the event is FREE to the public. RSVP your seat at youthmakingripples@gmail.com. If you are an educator that has students entering films….Submission information and guidelines can be found at http://www.beneaththewavesfilmfest.org/youth-making-ripples/

But the kids don’t get to have all the fun. Beneath the Waves(TM) Film Festival is launching its 2014 call for submissions. Beneath the Waves is a unique film festival and communication platform run by scientists with a global reach. Our mission is to give the oceans a voice through digital media and storytelling. Over the past four years, we have reached thousands of people across 6 continents at our screening events. Whether you are an undergad, graduate student, scientist, or a professional filmmaker, if you have a story to tell, we want to hear it, and we want to help you amplify your message!

Films are due by February 1, 2014. All films must be less than 10 minutes in length and must relate to a marine science or conservation topic. Please see www.beneaththewavesfilmfest.org for more details on submission criteria and to view some of our past films and events.

Join us on Saturday, December 15th from 9am – 1pm at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, FL for some FMSEA fun! Activities include kayaking, field sampling and a look at Mote’s winter guests, sea lions. RSVP required for all participants. Space is limited, sign up before December 10th.

Where: Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL
Get Directions

When:  Saturday, December 15, 2012, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Lunch Included

RSVP:  All participants must register, space is limited. To register, click here. RSVP deadline: December 10th

Outing Details

There are 3 activities that you may choose from: kayaking, field sampling and a self-guided tour of Save Our Seabirds (descriptions below). In addition, all participants will receive admission to The Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory to enjoy the rest of the day. Space is limited and all activities are weather permitting. Lunch is provided.

Kayaking: Join us as we kayak through Sarasota Bay and discover the marine animals and plants that thrive in Florida’s coastal waters.  You’ll learn how Mote’s scientists study this unique environment during our leisurely paddle. All kayaking equipment is provided and class begins with basic kayaking instruction.
Field Sampling: Discover what lives in the seagrass beds and sand flats of Sarasota Bay as we collect marine animals with dip nets, seine nets, and core samplers.
Save Our Seabirds: Enjoy the morning learning about the amazing residents at Save Our Seabirds, a non-profit conservation and education organization. The 130,000 square foot facility is home to approximately 250 birds consisting of over 30 species both native and exotic. Stroll through a mostly shaded boardwalk while observing many of the residents in more than 45 manicured enclosures.

Sea Lions: On the Water’s Edge
On December 1st, Mote’s limited-time exhibit featuring sea lions will open to the public. Sea Lions: On the Water’s Edge is an exciting exhibit featuring Patagonian and California sea lions that will be open through April 28, 2013 in the Aquarium. Participants will attend a sea lion presentation during the Outing.

After we receive your RSVP, the SW Regional Director will send you a confirmation e-mail with all Outing details including meeting place, proper attire, and a confirmation of your activity and lunch preference. If you have any questions, please contact Kasey, the SW Regional Director, rd-southwest@fmsea.org.

Outing Confirmation Form

Click here to open form in a new window

A fiery sun rises above the ocean at Gamble Rogers State Park beach.Humpback Whale Talk at Gamble Rogers State Park

Join local author, Frank Gromling, at 10:30 a.m. this Saturday, December 1 to learn about humpback whales and their biannual migration past the shores of Gamble Rogers State Park.

Other events at Gamble Rogers State Park Include:

Fishing 101 – Intercoastal Fishing Lessons on Friday, December 14, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Full Moon Beach Hike – Guided evening hike with Ranger Tony on Thursday, December 27, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Saltmarsh Kayak Tour – Naturalist led kayak tour on Saturday, December 29, 9:00-11:00 a.m., only $25 with kayak included.

RSVP for any of these events by calling 386-517-2086

Explore the Thousand Islands

by Brandon 2012/09/25 East Central

  The 4th program in the Brevard Naturalist Program will be held at the Cocoa Beach Library on Saturday, October 27th.  Learn about the Thousand Islands and More will feature speakers in the morning, followed by an afternoon paddling trip through the Thousand Islands. Cost is $50 if a kayak is needed or $35 if you […]

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Get WET & WILD in the East Central Region

by Brandon 2012/09/18 East Central

Two exciting new workshops are being offered in our region in Volusia County. Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting Growing Up WILD and Project WET 2.0. on Friday, September 28, and Friday, October 19, respectively. Both workshops are FREE to attend. Growing Up WILD is aimed at early childhood educators while Project WET […]

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East Central September Update

by Brandon 2012/09/12 East Central

Help Spread the Word We have been out pushing the FMSEA message to teachers across the state at teacher in-services, workshops, and conferences. My challenge to you is to help spread the word about FMSEA to your colleagues this year. Did you know FMSEA gives a FREE membership to first year teachers? So reach out […]

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