"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."

MDC Plans To Add STEAM To Its Programs And Curriculum

Jul 3rd, 2015 | Category: Announcements, MDC News

Mosquito Lagoon Enhancement Center

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla., July 2, 2015 – From STEM to STEAM, the Marine Discovery Center plans to add another dimension to its offerings, thanks to the recent $550,800 ECHO Grant awarded to the center by the Volusia County Council and its work with The Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida.

The grant funds will be used to complete the Mosquito Lagoon Marine Enhancement Center, which includes both the Marine Discovery Center (MDC) and the Artists’ Workshop. Both nonprofit organizations share a building on the site of the former New Smyrna Beach High School.

MDC has long focused on implementing STEM-related curriculum – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – into its programs, but will now add the “A” – including the Arts – into its educational curriculums.

“We want this site to celebrate our natural resources through science, recreation and the arts,” said Chad Truxall, executive director at the center. “Once we complete our amphitheater, we’ll be able to augment our conservation messages through performing and visual arts, adding such things as films and music to our public outreach.”

In addition to the completion of the amphitheater, a pavilion with restrooms adjacent to a restored salt marsh (completed with a 2014 grant), a kayak storage building and multi-purpose room, and a half-mile walking trail around the perimeter of the 22-acre site, also await construction this fall. Interpretative signs showcasing flora and fauna on the grounds also will be installed.

With construction expected to break ground in late fall 2015, Truxall envisions other community organizations utilizing the center’s grounds for special events.

The Volusia ECHO program awards grants to finance acquisition, restoration, construction or improvement of facilities to be used for environmental, cultural, historical and outdoor recreational purposes.

The grant also will purchase a parcel of land for conservation on its eastern shoreline, which will become part of the center’s nature trail. Landscaping on those grounds will remove all invasive plant species and will provide a planned nature play area for children, as well as a butterfly garden.

“We’re very thankful to Volusia County’s ECHO program, the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Paul B. Hunter and Constance D. Hunter Foundation, and other community members for supporting this project and believing in our mission,” added Truxall. “Our mission includes partnering with FWC in conservation and joining with the Artists’ Workshop to get the public more involved in the arts and sciences.”

About The Marine Discovery Center

The Marine Discovery Center (MDC) was founded in 2000 with the goal to protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems through education, research and community stewardship. A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, MDC has become widely recognized for its quality educational and hands-on, feet-wet learning programs for kids, as well as adults. Using its 40-passenger Discovery boat and fleet of kayaks, the center offers learning opportunities as a floating classroom, in adventure camps, as well as for guided eco-tours by certified naturalists. The center showcases engaging exhibits for experiential learning and invites community participation in stewardship opportunities.

Contact: For media questions, contact Lisa Mickey at lisa@marinediscoverycenter.org.