programs blog

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  • April 14, 2021 7:54 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    The Turtle Hospital

    Hello My name is Christine Watt.

    My love of turtles began at the early age of 14 in NY, when I found painted turtles in my back yard.

    In my twenties, I moved to Florida where I saw an advertisement in the local paper, ‘make a reservation to watch a female loggerhead nest at night!’ Interested, I called to reserve a spot; but the guy in the office was a newbie, it was his first day working and so he serendipitously registered me for a turtle nesting educational guide training by mistake! Ever since that pivotal moment, I’ve served as an active member of the Sea turtle Preservation Society as a permitted guide for night time turtle nesting watch and was on the stranding team. That was for almost 16 years, and since then I’ve continued to work in the Sea Turtle world as an educator, a permitted guide, and turtle nest surveyor.

    While attending a Sea Turtle Symposium in 2002 I met Richie Moratti, the founder of The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL one of the largest and first Sea Turtle Hospitals in the world. I would also see him regularly at FWC permit holders meeting. 7 seven years ago, I asked him if I could volunteer at the Turtle Hospital during the summers as I was working in a school and had summers free. Richie said “we couldn’t have volunteers at this time, but we are looking for someone to work in our educational department.”

    The rest is history, I left the school systems after 14 years to become an educator here at The Turtle Hospital and I’ve never looked back.

    I currently hold a nesting position here in the Keys as a nesting Surveyor in Marathon. 2021 Nesting season will be my 6th year.

  • March 12, 2021 9:33 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Marine Conservation Costa Rica

    Katharine Evans is one of the founders of Marine Conservation Costa Rica, a non-profit located on the cental Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Katharine is the lead biologist on MCCR's coral restoration project and also the intern and education co-ordinator.

    Katharine is originally from the UK, but has been living in Central America for almost 20 years, she has been diving for over 20 years and is an active dive instructor. Katharine will share about Marine Conservation Costa Rica's work.


  • February 12, 2021 8:58 PM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Jewels on the Reef: Florida's Hawksbill Turtles

    Dr. Larry Wood has been working with sea turtles in Florida for over 25 years.  His lifelong interest in biology, particularly reptiles, brought him to Juno Beach Florida, where he undertook sea turtle nesting beach surveys, helped develop a sea turtle rehabilitation facility, and created numerous public awareness and marine education programs.  In 2004, he established the Comprehensive Florida Hawksbill Research and Conservation Program, which is the first and only long-term study of hawksbill turtles in Florida.  Dr. Wood has contributed to sea turtle conservation in many ways in Florida and elsewhere through his publications, contributions to symposia, and student/volunteer mentorships.  He is currently pursuing his research and public education interests with the National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

  • January 19, 2021 11:38 AM | Rick Dayan (Administrator)

    Coral Restoration Foundation

    By Jeremy Goodsnyder

    Jeremy Goodsnyder is a Coral Restoration and Reef Conservation Lead Intern at the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF). He has been working for the CRF since September, 2020 and loves every second of the time has spent above and below the surface during his time at CRF. Jeremy graduated from Brandeis University in May, 2020 with honors, majoring in Environmental Studies as well as Anthropology. He has been scuba diving since he was 12 years old and has been fortunate enough to dive all over the world from the Florida Keys, to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Red Sea, the Caribbean, and even balmy Lake Michigan! When it came to working for CRF, Jeremy knew he had to give back to the coral reefs, the one thing that has given him so much joy in his life, he decided to join CRF to fulfill that dream so that future generations can enjoy what he has been fortunate enough to see in life so far was an obvious choice. Jeremy has dabbled here and there in regards to dive experience from recreational, to commercial diving, and even underwater archaeology as well. With experience working at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, as well as diving in the states as well as abroad, his path naturally led to his dream position here with the Coral Restoration Foundation. He is extremely excited to share his knowledge, experiences, and time with the Under Sea Adventurers Dive Club, this February 4th!


  • December 28, 2020 9:35 PM | Chris Hardham (Administrator)

    An overview of the Wild Dolphin Project, who we are and what we do.

    By Cassie Rusche

    Bio: Cassie Rusche received her B.S. (2013) in biology from Northern Kentucky University and her M.S. (2016) in biological sciences from Florida Atlantic University. Cassie is originally from Cincinnati, OH where she grew up loving animals of all kinds. She has always been interested in their behavior and why they do what they do. During her undergrad she was involved in undergraduate research examining parental care behavior in the Carolina Chickadee, a small songbird. After being involved in this research, Cassie knew she wanted to pursue her graduate degree, and so she found Dr. Denise Herzing and the Wild Dolphin Project. She was working on her master’s thesis, investigating spotted dolphin aggressive behavior, and helping out on the boat from 2014-2016. She moved back to Cincinnati, OH briefly but decided she missed the dolphins, Florida’s beaches, and the warmer weather! Cassie is now back working with us as our Research Assistant and will be out in the field on the boat a lot during the summer field season!


  • November 17, 2020 8:34 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Fish Health
    Overview and Case Study of a Porcupinefish

    By Keith Herman

    Keith was born and raised in Delaware, Ohio about 45 minutes north of Columbus, very near the Columbus Zoo and aquarium. He spent his formative years playing soccer, fishing, and generally being outdoors. He attended Miami University 2001 – 2005 and received degrees in Zoology and Psychology. Miami University (Oxford, OH) is not to be confused with University of Miami (Florida). Miami University was founded in 1809, while Florida did not even become a state until 1845.

    Keith started his career caring for fish, in the fall of 2005, at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN. After three and a half years, he took a promotion and left for warmer weather, landing at SeaWorld Orlando in early 2009. He then spent over eight years maintaining aquariums there for millions of guests each year. In January of 2017 he started at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, Fl., where he has been for just a few weeks shy of four years now. Gumbo Limbo is by far the smallest facility he has worked at, but he has been enjoying the challenge of caring for fish endemic to South Florida.

  • October 18, 2020 12:57 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Gulf Stream in a Martini Glass

    By Andy Dehart

    Few aquariums are able to house pelagic fishes. The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science has pioneered a novel exhibit design to house these exciting aquatic ambassadors and recreate the open ocean feel of the Gulf Stream. Andy Dehart, VP of Animal Husbandry and Marine Conservation will provide details on the construction and activation of this unique exhibit and offer insight into the animals that are featured in this exhibit.

    With more than 25 years of experience in animal husbandry at several major public aquariums throughout North America, Andy Dehart oversees all animal husbandry operations and aquatic life support operations at Frost Science. Dehart also oversees the museum’s marine conservation initiatives, including restoration efforts, the marine exotic species response program and species-specific conservation efforts.

    Prior to joining Frost Science, Dehart helped build and open Toronto’s Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada as the Director of Husbandry, and had previously spent 19 years at the National Aquarium in both Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Additionally, Dehart was part of the opening team at the Kingdom of the Seas Aquarium at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska. Dehart’s extensive knowledge of sharks has led him to serve as Shark Advisor for the Discovery Channel, and he has appeared on the “Today Show,” “The Early Show,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Larry King Live,” “Fox News,” “USA Today,” “The O’Reilly Factor” and “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” He has been featured in seven Shark Week productions for the Discovery Channel.

    Dehart earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

  • September 14, 2020 3:32 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Loggerhead Marinelife Center

    By Casey Palmer

    The presentation will be about the work done at Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Florida’s sea turtles, sea turtle biology, sea turtle nesting, and ways that everyone can aid in sea turtle conservation.  Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation and educational institution that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, which hosts world-class angling and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center (https://marinelife.org/) is open daily and hosts over 350,000 guests free-of-charge each year. The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation. The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. When complete, the facility will offer one of the world’s most advanced and unique experiences for guests and scientific partners.

    Casey Palmer is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Loggerhead Marinelife Center. She is originally from Bowie, Maryland and studied Biological Sciences at Towson University. In her career, her primary focus has been conservation and education in both inland, coastal, and marine environments. Before her current position, Casey worked with The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, National Park Service, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. She shares her passion for marine conservation and sea turtles through the summer camp and outreach programs she facilitates at the center.

  • August 20, 2020 4:36 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    The Great White Sharks of Guadelupe Island

    By Gary Rose, MD

    We all grew up watching Jaws and if you are a scuba diver you have realized that diving with Great Whites is nothing like we see in the movies. Gary Rose,MD will bring you, virtually, to Guadelupe, Mexico, to dive with him and the Great White Sharks. You will learn about their behavior and what makes them tick. As you view his photo presentation you will feel like you are right there with him ........ and the Great White Sharks.

    Gary Rose MD has been a certified diver for over 45 years and is a PADI Open Water Instructor. As a Plastic Surgeon and Associate Professor of Microbiology and Surgery at the College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, he has fulfilled his life passion as a marine biologist with his research on marine microorganisms, as well as large ocean apex predators. Dr. Rose lectures all over the world in an interactive and entertaining style. His years of experience are evident in the many stories and anecdotes he relates. Dr. Rose is a member of the Divers Alert Network and The Undersea And Hyperbaric Medical Society. You can find him on weekends diving our local waters and photographing our plentiful and diverse sharks.


  • July 30, 2020 2:23 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Manta Rays

    By Jessica Pate

    Jessica is the Founder and Lead Scientist of the Florida Manta Project in the Marine Megafauna Foundation (https://marinemegafaunafoundation.orgJessica Pate/).

    Jessica has an undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a graduate degree from Florida Atlantic University. She has studied sea turtles in Florida, Central America, and West Africa. She has also taught marine biology on traditionally rigged schooners and has crossed the Atlantic Ocean by sail. In 2016, Jessica started the Florida Manta Project to study the biology and ecology of manta rays in South Florida.

    Jessica will be talking about manta ray biology and global manta ray conservation, as well what discoveries that she has made about Florida’s manta rays. You will also find out how to become a citizen scientist and contribute to important manta ray research!


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