Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation and Mote Marine Laboratory Announce Partnership

provided by Mote Marine Laboratory): Conceptual design of Coral Reef Exploration exhibit.
provided by Mote Marine Laboratory:
Conceptual design of Coral Reef Exploration exhibit.

ISLAMORADA, FL – An exciting partnership to bring the coral reef ecosystem exhibit to land is being undertaken between Mote Marine Laboratory and Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation, both not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organizations. The exhibit, Coral Reef Exploration, is expected to be complete in the fall, and will be housed in the Keys History & Discovery Center, which is operated by the Foundation.

The comprehensive exhibit will feature three aquariums, educational storyboards, interactive kiosks and video monitors focused on providing both a beautiful and educational view of our unique coral reef ecosystem and the challenges it faces.

The largest of the aquariums, at 1,250 gallons, will showcase species that make their home on and around the Florida Keys coral reefs, including corals, fish, and invertebrates. Two smaller aquariums, at 280 gallons each, will support live corals and invasive lionfish.

“This collaborative exhibit at the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center (FKHDC) is an exciting next strategic milestone for achieving Mote’s vision to align with impactful partners that seek to provide meaningful vehicles for public outreach and education,” states Dr. Michael Crosby, President & CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory. “Our coral reef research and restoration efforts in the Florida Keys has long-resided in the Lower Keys and Key West. Now with this partnership, our two organizations will be able to build and nurture an even greater understanding of the central role of coral reefs and related marine ecosystems in the rich history and culture of the Florida Keys. Partnering with the FKHDC allows us to leverage our overlapping missions and complimentary expertise for the greater benefit of both residents and visitors to Islamorada and the Upper Keys,” added Crosby.

Located in the heart of Islamorada, the addition of the Coral Reef Exploration exhibit allows the Foundation to fulfill the mission of ‘discovery’ within the only bricks-and-mortar history & discovery center in the Upper Keys. Mote will bring this engaging and educational exhibit to life.

This $250,000 project is funded in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council and through in-kind contributions from Mote, including annual maintenance and upkeep following completion of the installation. An additional $150,000 is needed to cover the costs of the project and community support is being sought.

“Since the day we first envisioned a history and discovery center, we included aquariums in our plans,” said Foundation President Rich Russell. “Our partnership with Mote is making this a reality sooner that we could have dreamed! But we need support from the community to help complete financing of the the exhibit. Our fundraising campaign includes naming opportunities and various donor levels.”

For more information on becoming a part of this unique and comprehensive exhibit, contact Foundation Executive Director Jill Miranda Baker at 305-922-2237 or via info@keysdiscovery.com.

About Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation:
Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation formed in 2013 to develop and operate Keys History & Discovery Center. The not-for-profit organization’s board of directors is comprised of community-minded volunteers with a passion for the mission of preserving and sharing the unique history and environment of the Florida Keys, particularly that of the Upper Keys. More information can be found by calling 305-922-2237. or contact us here

About Mote Marine Laboratory:
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium has been an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 research organization since it was created in 1955. Mote has five campuses stretching from Sarasota Bay to the Florida Keys, and Mote scientists conduct research on the oceans surrounding all seven of the Earth’s continents in more than 20 diverse research programs. Mote’s Summerland Key campus, The Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration (IC2R3), is dedicated to coral reef research, restoration and understanding the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on marine organisms — especially corals. For more information, visit www.mote.org.