MDC Monthly Lecture Series

MDC Monthly Lecture Series

Sea Turtles Are The Topic At MDC’s July Lecture

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July, 2018

Sea turtles are busy nesting on Florida beaches and these charismatic creatures will be the topic of the Marine Discovery Center’s public lecture in July.

Cathy Thompson, president of the Turtle Trackers, and Nancy Malmberg, a volunteer at Canaveral National Seashore, will co-present about sea turtles on Volusia County’s public beaches, as well as in the national park.

The presentation is set for Thursday, July 19, starting at 6 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.

The Turtle Trackers monitor the shoreline in New Smyrna Beach and use Volusia County equipment with a team of about 30 volunteers. The nonprofit group has surveyed the beaches to identify and protect nest sites since the 1980s.

Last year, Volusia County beaches posted its second-highest nesting season since 1988, with 720 nests, including nests of loggerhead and green sea turtles, as well as four nests of Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles – uncommon for this region.

Canaveral National Seashore, which spans both Volusia and Brevard counties, recorded 12,315 nests in 2017. That count included nests for loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles.

Both the Turtle Trackers and Canaveral National Seashore staff record and mark nests, monitor the nesting turtles and incubating eggs, and may protect the nests from predators.

The purpose of July’s lecture is to not only inform the public about the successful nesting programs, but to also help beach visitors learn how not to disturb nesting mothers when they emerge on beaches to lay eggs.

The presenters will also discuss how the public can help keep beaches safe and unobstructed for sea turtle hatchlings to find their way into the ocean.

MDC’s July lecture is open to the public at no charge and no reservations are required. Early arrival is recommended, as seating is limited.

For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.

May 2018 Lecture Series, Bees & BeeKeepers

May 2018 Lecture Series, Bees & BeeKeepers

May: Bees & Beekeepers

Marine Discovery Center Monthly Lecture Series
The Journey of Bees and Beekeepers – Understanding Our Partnership With This Amazing Insect

When: Thursday, May 17 2018 at 6:00 p.m. (Honey tasting 5:00-6:00 p.m.)

Where: Marine Discovery Center, 520 Barracuda Blvd, NSB, 32169

Cost: FREE

The lecture is open to the public at no charge and no reservations are required.

For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.

“The Journey of Bees and Beekeepers – Understanding Our Partnership With This Amazing Insect” will be the topic of the Marine Discovery Center’s May public lecture.

Doug McGinnis, who has served for nine years on the National Honey Board, and has been an officer in the National Honey Packers and Dealers Association, as well as the American Beekeeping Federation, will be the guest speaker.

The presentation is set for Thursday, May 17, starting at 6 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.

A special honey tasting will take place at the center prior to the lecture from 5-6 p.m. Several varieties of locally sourced honey, including black mangrove honey and Brazilian pepper honey, will be available for tasting and purchase at MDC during that time.

At the lecture, McGinnis will discuss the role and duties of beekeepers today as they carry bees around the country to make honey and pollinate food crops, and how this corresponds to the life cycle of honeybees.

Florida is among the nation’s top honey-producing states, and because of its warm climate hundreds of thousands of honeybee colonies are carried throughout the state by migratory beekeepers. This movement is compounding the problems facing honeybee colonies, however, whether from diseases, pests, pesticides or other environmental stresses.

McGinnis will talk about the variety of Florida honey plants and how the bees produce honey from their nectar, including the coastal region’s black mangrove trees. He will also discuss how the honey supply is dependent on pollination, what pollen is, and what pollen does for the honeybees.

In addition, McGinnis will help the public learn how to help Florida’s bee population, and will talk about some of the work being done at the University of Florida Bee Lab to combat the loss of bees and improve the knowledge of beekeepers.

McGinnis has been involved in beekeeping and honey production for most of his life. His family’s business, Tropical Blossom Honey Co., of Edgewater, Fla., sold honey products from Florida beekeepers throughout the nation and to more than 20 countries.

Currently McGinnis serves on the Board of Trustees of the Atlantic Center for the Arts and keeps his beehives at ACA’s New Smyrna Beach campus.

The May lecture is open to the public at no charge and no reservations are required. Early arrival is recommended, as seating is limited.

For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.

MDC Expands Summer Camp Programs With New Additions

MDC Expands Summer Camp Programs With New Additions

by Lisa D. Mickey
News Release

The Marine Discovery Center will offer three new camp programs this summer, adding a camp for homeschooled students, as well as six sessions of new two-day camps.

Joining a summer schedule that includes 28 different camps for youngsters ages kindergarten to eighth grade, the new programs were added by popular request.

Three sessions of the new Salty Scientists two-day camp will be held for children in kindergarten through second grade May 31-June 1, July 2-3 and July 5-6. Campers will focus on sea creatures found on the Florida coast in this program.

Three sessions of the inaugural Water Warriors two-day camps will be held for campers in grades 3-5 from May 31-June 1, July 2-3 and July 5-6. This program is designed to expand campers’ knowledge of the world of water with island exploration, fishing and marine-related arts and crafts.

“We’re hoping to reach more families who may want their children to have an educational experience, while also enjoying time at the beach during family vacation,” said Michelle West, education coordinator at MDC.

Addressing the need to offer a special program for homeschooled students, the new Estuary Explorers will offer youngsters in grades kindergarten through sixth grade a chance to focus on the ecosystems of the Indian River Lagoon.

“This camp will give homeschooled students a chance to meet and interact with other kids who are also homeschooled, as well as to have a fun educational experience away from home,” added West.

Other popular camps will be held for Loggerheads (grades K-2), Leatherbacks (grades 3-5), Mangrove Maniacs (grades 3-6), Aquatic Adventures (ages 5-8) and Lagoonys (grades 5-8).

A new field trip will be offered to Mangrove Maniac campers this year. The WaterVentures Learning Lab will bring its mobile interactive learning lab to the center to provide a hands-on look at Florida’s diverse watersheds, water conservation and recycling initiatives.

A free resource for the state of Florida offered through the Crystal Springs Foundation, WaterVentures is a 53-foot tractor-trailer that has been transformed into a science-learning lab on wheels.

Older children in the summer camp program will enjoy two sessions of FWC Saltwater Fishing camps (grades 5-8), as well as the popular SCUBA camp (grades 5-8).

Due to popular demand, one additional half-day camp has been added for archery this summer. Youngsters in grades 3-6 will have three half-day camps in June and July to perfect their archery techniques.

“Most of the kids we get have always wanted to try archery, but just never had a place to do it,” said MDC Education Specialist Logan Rohrbach, who is a certified archery instructor.

MDC has offered archery for six years, with interest in the program growing each summer. The Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network supplies archery equipment to MDC throughout the year as a community partner in the center’s archery program.

MDC’s archery program has a permanent designated archery range on a corner of the center’s campus away from other programming.

“It’s a regulation range designed using U.S.A. Archery safety regulations, so not only do the kids in our camps have fun while learning this sport, but they are also safe while doing it,” noted Rohrbach.

Voted as the 2017 “Star of the South Best Local Children’s Attraction” by readers of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, MDC’s summer camp programs continue teaching children about coastal ecosystem through feet-wet learning.

Last year, nearly 400 youngsters from 15 states and three countries attended summer camp at MDC during 10 weeks of activities.

Camp registration at the Marine Discovery Center is currently underway, with available discounts for early registration and MDC members.

For details about the camps, contact the Marine Discovery Center’s education office at 386-428-3310.

New Challenges In 2018 For Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

New Challenges In 2018 For Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

By Lisa D. Mickey
SEE LECTURE INFO HERE

The Marine Discovery Center hosts a lecture on North Atlantic Right Whales early each year to help citizens identify the large mammals sometimes spotted just offshore.

The presentation also encourages individuals to engage in a volunteer contact system designed to alert officials whenever these endangered animals are in the area.

Sadly, the challenges increased for the right whale in 2017, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported an “unusual mortality event (UME).” The UME detailed that 17 right whales were found dead off the coasts of New England and Canada last year, plunging the current global population of these whales to 450 animals.

Further, officials from NOAA warned in early December that the species of whale — which can weigh up to 150,000 pounds and grow as long as 48 feet (nearly 15 meters) — could be extinct within 20 years if critical action is not taken to protect them. Scientists estimate there currently are only 100 breeding females in existence.

One report noted that warmer water temperatures in Halifax, Canada, had lured some of the whales into atypical foraging areas that were also shipping channels. Of the 17 whales that were found dead in 2017, six were reportedly killed by blunt-force trauma – likely from collisions with vessels, said NOAA.

NOAA has already begun work with commercial fisheries from Canada and the United States, requesting improved communication to help avoid whale/ship encounters, as well as to help minimize entanglements. Five right whales were freed from fishing nets in 2017, with two dying following entanglement.

Precautionary measures with North American fisheries intensified in 2009. According to a NOAA report, fisheries were required to sink 27,000 miles of floating lines deep into oceanic waters, and more than 3,000 more miles of fishing line was removed from North American waters in 2014.

And while NOAA, along with various other national and state agencies, work to improve management of commercial fishing practices and methods to make waters safer for right whales, the addition of volunteer spotters has also benefitted the effort. Volunteer spotters living in coastal regions help report whale sightings to officials, who can alter shipping and commercial fishing routes, thereby preventing whale strikes.

Julie Albert, manager of the Marine Resources Council’s North Atlantic Right Whale Monitoring Program, currently leads more than 800 volunteers along the east coast of Florida. Albert will once again lead the discussion on right whales during MDC’s free monthly lecture on Thursday, Jan. 18.

The free lecture will begin at 6 p.m., at MDC, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.

The public is invited to come learn more about these endangered creatures, as well as what can be done by local citizens to help protect them when they show up off our shorelines this winter.

Contact: [email protected]

December Lecture, 2017

December Lecture, 2017

The World of Sharks

Marine Discovery Center Monthly Lecture Series:
“Sharks: Why We Need Them”

When: Thursday, December 14, 2017 – 6:00 pm
Where: Marine Discovery Center, 520 Barracuda Blvd, NSB, 32169
Cost: FREE

The lecture is open to the public at no charge and no reservations are required.

For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.

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