Vision and Goals
The long range vision of the Marine Discovery Center is to see a healthy Indian River Lagoon Estuary (IRL) and the ecosystem it supports preserved and enjoyed for its natural beauty, unmatched diversity of species and rich fishery for generations to come. Initiatives and activities designed to achieve this vision include providing education, research, restoration and heightened public awareness of this wondrous, fragile natural resource. In order to preserve the IRL for the enjoyment of future generations, a goal of the Marine Discovery Center is to showcase the biodiversity of this treasured natural resource and to examine, research and encourage human interaction “ON THE WATER” with the estuary.
From the Managing Director:
I’d like to begin by stating that I’m honored to serve you as the Managing Director of the Marine Discovery Center (MDC). During the last 10 years, I’ve worked alongside many of you while volunteering and then as Director of Education. For those of you that I’ve not met and for those of you that I have, I’d like to share with you a little history, vision and passion that I have for this great organization.
In 2000, I was asked to attend a Marine Discovery Center Board Meeting for the purpose of developing a potential partnership between New Smyrna Beach HS and MDC. Little did I know that this moment would prove to shape my professional career in such a profound way! I was immediately impressed with the vision of the organization but more importantly I was eager to work with the local community to connect people to the jewels and wonders of the Indian River Lagoon. We began with a mission and lots of great ideas while working out of the old New Smyrna Beach water treatment plant. But when DISCOVERY, our 40-passenger, floating classroom (aka boat) arrived, everything changed! DISCOVERY provided instant access to the lagoon and in 2001 we ran our first education program from our new floating classroom.
Since our maiden voyage we’ve developed, facilitated or have been involved in a variety of programs that serve our mission and connect our community with nature.
Programs like the award winning FL Master Naturalist, oyster and shoreline restoration, K-12 education, adventure camps, marine mammal stranding and rescue, bird rescue, invasive species removal, coastal clean ups, water quality monitoring and so much more. The success of these pro-grams is a testament to a supporting community, a hard working staff and board, and most importantly a phenomenal group of committed volunteers.
Fast forward to today. Our new home is the Mosquito Lagoon Marine Enhancement Center, a 6,000 square foot facility that marks the achievement of a long standing goal to match the quality of our facility with the quality of our programs. The new space provides larger classrooms, labs, a gift shop and exhibit areas. Future planning includes an exercise/nature trail, birding observation tower, the restoration of a four-acre salt marsh with kayak launch and a host of new, hands-on, feet-wet environmental learning activities that include a saltwater fishing camp for kids and archery.
The future is bright for MDC and I hope you will join me as we serve our mission to protect and restore Florida’s Coastal Ecosystems through education, research and community stewardship.
Explore Your Waters!
Chad Truxall, Managing Director