Coastal Conservation Corp

Coastal Conservation Corp

Grant Year: 2016 | Focus Area: Environment, Recreation & Preservation | Grant Amount: $108,200 | Grant Status: Completed

Coastal Conservation Corp

Northwest Florida Marine Education and Discovery of Gulf Ecosystems, Inc. (EDGE) dba Navarre Beach Marine Science Station

NWFL Marine Education and Discovery of Gulf Ecosystems, Inc. (EDGE) was formed in 2014 as a nonprofit organization to support the current activities and visitor programs of Navarre Beach Marine Science Station (NBMSS). NBMSS works to preserve and protect our beach and marine ecosystems through education and hands-on experience for students and the general public. The common mission of the EDGE and NBMSS is to promote the appreciation, conservation, and understanding of the marine ecosystem of coastal Florida through education, service and hands-on, feet-wet experiences. The programs that EDGE implements are designed to empower individuals to become stewards of their ocean through service, experiential learning, scientific inquiry, and innovative technologies. Current programs include Citizen Science, Autism OdysSea, and Science by the Sea Summer Camps. The opportunities for outreach for EDGE and NBSS are endless. As a program of the Santa Rosa County School District, the Marine Science Station supports 5,000 people (students and parents) from Santa Rosa County and surrounding counties annually. The NBMSS regularly receives requests for family oriented, marine education and ecotourism events from community members and visitors to Navarre Beach. These requests have continued to grow each year.

Project Description

The IMPACT 100 project, Coastal Conservation Corp (CCC), will be the response to the community’s desire to learn about our ecosystems and how to protect these natural treasures. IMPACT 100 funds will be used to purchase a 24 foot trailer and the structural modifications and equipment needed to implement the creation of “Discovery Depot,” a mobile conservation vehicle outfitted with state of the art exhibits and a touch tank with marine animals found in the Gulf of Mexico. Funding also includes the purchase of a used vehicle to pull the trailer. Finally, grant funds will purchase live animals for the touch tanks, static exhibits and items such as the generator, the audio and visual equipment and microscopes. The CCC project will empower its guests to be active participants in protecting the environment.

Community Impact

The Coastal Conservation Corp project will allow EDGE to reach exponentially more people by traveling in a mobile outreach vehicle, the Discovery Depot. EDGE will take the message to the people rather than waiting for the visitor to come to the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station. By providing a mobile platform, CCC will be able to bring the methods proven by NBMSS to a wider audience. This will increase the amount of impact CCC can have on our community's environmental concerns. The guests who visit the Discovery Depot at festivals and schools, will leave with a heightened awareness of beach safety, marine debris, jellyfish, fish and turtle conservation and monitoring, reef health and invasive species monitoring. The exhibits in the Discovery Depot will raise awareness of environmental issues and give suggestions of how visitors can be active and involved in making a difference to protect and preserve the ecosystems. The CCC project has a unique and invaluable goal to promote the appreciation, conservation, and understanding of the marine ecosystem of coastal Florida through hands-on citizen science projects. On a larger scale, the CCC project can have an even greater impact on every life, by increasing the level of awareness and the involvement of people in citizen science projects. The Discovery Depot will be the premiere outreach unit in Northwest Florida and will be the most wanted and attended exhibit at outreach and conservation events, awareness days, festivals, and schools.