January Lecture Looks At Future Of North Atlantic Right Whales

January Lecture Looks At Future Of North Atlantic Right Whales

Right Whales


January, 2019

When: Thursday, January 17 2019 at 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.

The endangered North Atlantic Right Whale population has declined over the last several years, prompting the question: “Is Extinction In Sight?”

Julie Albert, who has coordinated the Marine Resources Council’s North Atlantic Right Whale Program for 20 years, will be the guest speaker for the January 2019 public lecture at the Marine Discovery Center.

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

Albert will discuss the current state of the endangered species, highlight progress made on the use of alternative fishing gear designed to reduce whale entanglements, and also examine the challenges and outlook for the future of this whale species that winters off Florida’s east coast.

Albert will also show shoreline residents how to identify North Atlantic Right Whales and provide information on who to contact if the whales are spotted offshore.

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

The lecture is open to the public at no charge  |  No reservations are required
Early arrival is recommended ~ seating is limited.

35 Days of Love for the Lagoon

35 Days of Love for the Lagoon

35 Days of Love for the Lagoon

We all remember the first time watching the bright rays of the sun reach above the horizon to welcome a new day.  Or maybe it’s the first time floating on a boat at twilight while the ripples lap against the hull and the sound of a bottlenose dolphin’s forceful exhale breaks the surface of the lagoon. “First times” on, in, near or around the Indian River Lagoon are unforgettable and each of us have our own story to share.

For more than twenty years you’ve helped us provide “first time” stories for thousands of guests annually.  These stories are shared at the dinner table, on social media and throughout the community and become part of a larger conversation about who we are and how we work together to save the Indian River Lagoon.

Because of you we continue to create “first time” stories and achieve recognition for our work.

  • Disadvantaged youth gained higher achievement test scores when their education was supplemented with “hands on feet wet” activities at the Marine Discovery Center.
  • The Association of Nature Center Administrators recognized the MDC for its superior leadership.
  • More adult and youth programs than ever inspired 8,296 people who love the Lagoon.
  • Strategic blueprints for a vibrant future came alive with the construction of an amphitheater, native landscaping and trails.
  • A volunteer base of 466 individuals donated 11,635 hours of time on behalf of the Center and Indian River Lagoon.

Your annual gifts make it possible for the Marine Discovery Center to answer needs for information about the Indian River Lagoon, to provide opportunities for citizen science participation and to act on your passion. 

35 Days of Love for the Lagoon

This year we’re kicking off our end of year appeal on #GivingTuesday with 35 Days of Love for the Lagoon. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. This year we encourage you to support your local conservation charity: Marine Discovery Center.

The Marine Discovery Center receives no annual funding from government agencies. You can help ensure the Center’s success in our 22nd year, 2019, by making a gift of $1000, $500, $100, $50 or $25. You may pledge a sustaining gift via automatic credit card donations or you can donate right here on our website. Maybe you’d like to provide a sustaining gift by becoming a Dolphin Society member with a gift of $83.33/month for the next 5 years. Please also check for matching opportunities at your work or contact me directly at 386.679.3622 to discuss how you’d like to be involved.

The long-range vision of the Marine Discovery Center is for you and future generations to see a healthy Indian River Lagoon enjoyed for its natural beauty, unmatched diversity of species and rich fishery. We do not take you nor the Lagoon for granted. We are most grateful for your past gifts and promise to continue to be faithful stewards of your gifts and the Indian River Lagoon. Please make your gift today!


Chad Truxall
Executive Director

Annual Paint Out Event To Benefit Marine Discovery Center

Annual Paint Out Event To Benefit Marine Discovery Center

Osprey Nesting Platform

by Lisa D. Mickey

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla., Nov. 21, 2018 – The annual Plein Air Paint Out brings nationally recognized artists to New Smyrna Beach each year to create outdoor paintings from dawn to dusk over a span of a week.

This year’s eighth annual event will be held Dec. 2-8, with proceeds benefitting the Marine Discovery Center. Approximately 31 professional artists from throughout the nation are invited to participate.


At the end of each day during Paint Out week, the artists’ work will be brought to the Marine Discovery Center (MDC) at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach. The artistic creations will be on display most days throughout the week in a gallery area at MDC from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please check NSBPaintOut.com for daily gallery hours. The public is encouraged to view and purchase the work on exhibit all week long during the Paint Out.

There will be nine daily art demonstrations in which the artists set up their easels to teach as they paint in different outdoor locations throughout the city. Art demonstrations will be held each day of the Paint Out event from 10 a.m. to noon, and from 1-3 p.m., unless otherwise indicated. The public is welcome to observe the artists at work and ask questions while they work.

“This is a wonderful weeklong celebration of art and we hope residents of New Smyrna Beach and the surrounding area will participate in this very special event,” said Mary Sue Weinaug, Paint Out host. “There is something for everybody at the Paint Out — whether you want to learn an artistic technique or buy artwork for your home.”

Art demonstrations will be held at the following locations on the following dates:

*Monday, Dec. 3 – (morning) Riverside Park at 105 South Riverside Drive under bridge, and (afternoon/painting) Outriggers Tiki Bar and Grille deck at 248 North Causeway Blvd.

* Tuesday, Dec. 4 – (morning/sketching) at Florida Hospital Deck, South Parking Lot, at 401 Palmetto Street, and (afternoon) at Riverpark Terrace Restaurant at 302 South Riverside Drive.

* Wednesday, Dec. 5 – (morning) Night Swan Bed & Breakfast at 512 South Riverside Drive, and (afternoon/painting) Smyrna Yacht Club Tiki Hut at 1201 South Riverside Drive.

* Thursday, Dec. 6 – Art lecture on the history of Plein Air Painting and Painting Methods at MDC from 9:30-10:30 a.m., followed by art demonstrations by middle school students (morning) from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the MDC campus at 520 Barracuda Blvd., and an artist demonstration (afternoon) at Buena Vista Park at 550 North Causeway.

* Friday, Dec. 7 – (morning/painting) entry area of Outriggers Tiki Bar and Grille at 248 North Causeway, and (afternoon/painting) across from the New Smyrna Museum of History at 120 Sams Avenue.

A “Community Quick Draw” event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 8, at The Artists’ Workshop on Barracuda Blvd., next door to MDC. The event is a two-hour judged art competition for amateur artists and the public is encouraged to participate. An entry fee of $25 will be charged for each artist, with the winner invited to participate as a guest artist at the 2019 Paint Out.

A highlight of the week is a special live auction of artistic creations on the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 5. Hosted by Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille on the North Causeway, the preview of the exhibited art will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the live auction of the work at 7 p.m.

One hundred percent of all proceeds from the live art auction will benefit the Marine Discovery Center, while 50 percent of all other art sold during the week will benefit the educational programs at MDC.

“This event truly showcases the Indian River Lagoon and our coastal community through artistic interpretation,” said MDC Executive Director Chad Truxall.

The weeklong Paint Out will conclude and final art sales will take place at the Plein Air Gala on Saturday, Dec. 8. The event will be held from 6-9 p.m., in a special events tent located at the New Smyrna Marina at 200 Boatyard Street, adjacent to Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille on the North Causeway.

Tickets to the Plein Air Gala are $40 in advance or $75 for two tickets. Tickets may be purchased online.

Art patrons and Paint Out sponsors support the event financially, allowing proceeds to benefit the Marine Discovery Center. For more information about sponsorship, contact Mary Sue Weinaug at 407-463-3363. 

For full details about the New Smyrna Beach Paint Out, visit NSBPaintOut.com

Contacts: For media information Lisa Mickey at lisa@marinediscoverycenter.org; for other general information, Mary Sue Weinaug at 407-463-3363.

‘Sea Junk Scientist’ Keynote Speaker at Sh.O.R.E. Symposium

‘Sea Junk Scientist’ Keynote Speaker at Sh.O.R.E. Symposium

by Lisa D. Mickey
News Release

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla., Nov. 15, 2018 – The fourth annual Sh.O.R.E. Symposium will once again give the public an opportunity to learn more about current issues and research relating to the Indian River Lagoon.

Co-presented by the Marine Discovery Center, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and Daytona State College, Sh.O.R.E. — Sharing Our Research with Everyone – will be held Friday, Nov. 30.

Sh.O.R.E. will return to the Brannon Civic Center, located at 105 South Riverside Drive in New Smyrna Beach. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., with the event starting at 10 a.m.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Marcus Eriksen, an environmental scientist, educator and author focused on building stronger communities through art, science, adventure and activism.

Founder of the 5-Gyres Institute, Eriksen is involved in research about the global distribution and ecological impacts of plastic marine pollution.

His studies have included sailing expeditions through all five subtropical gyres and his book, “Junk Raft” details an oceanic voyage and discusses how oceanic plastic pollution impacts humans and the planet.

Osprey Nesting Platform

“Our keynote speaker offers a compelling story about water-related issues,” said Marine Discovery Center Executive Director Chad Truxall. “This year will focus on single-use plastics and their impact in our waters.”

The annual symposium is designed to provide useful information for all citizens, Truxall added. High school students and college undergraduates will join science professionals in presenting information to the public about their recent research, current scientific findings and management strategies for the Indian River Lagoon.

“S.h.O.R.E. aims to provide information about problems, but also about solutions,” he said. “We always hope people will come away from this event knowing more and thinking they can do more to help.”

Students will also display scientific posters in the Brannon Center during lunch, which will be provided at no charge to all pre-registered attendees. Members of the professional science community will select top oral and poster presentations for cash prizes to the participating students, which will conclude the symposium around 4:30 p.m.

“The students who will be presenting at Sh.O.R.E. could become our future scientists,” said Dr. Debra Woodall, professor at Daytona State College’s Institute of Marine and Environmental Studies, and an organizer of Sh.O.R.E.

“This event provides our students with the opportunity to understand what it’s like to be a scientist and to learn how to speak to the public about science.”

New this year will be an interactive art exhibit entitled “How Plastic Are We?” The Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) will host the student-created exhibit, which is inspired by this year’s ocean-plastics theme and is a commentary on the presence of plastics in waterways and natural habitats.

The exhibit will be held at the ACA Harris House, located near the Brannon Center at 214 South Riverside Drive in New Smyrna Beach, and will be on display from 4-7 p.m., Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

“ACA is honored to partner with Sh.O.R.E. in bridging the fields of science and art,” said Eve Payor, director of Harris House Community Programs. “This year, ACA has contributed by leading a creative outreach program with Daytona State College photography students and environmental artist Skip Snow.”

“It is vital for scientists to think creatively about solutions, and for artists to make statements about our changing environment,” added Payor. “Both disciplines can collaborate and share knowledge that will help humanity navigate the future.”

Following the symposium, ACA will partner with Sh.O.R.E. to offer an author’s book signing across the street from the Brannon Center at the Harris House.

Keynote speaker Dr. Eriksen will sign copies of his book “Junk Raft” at Harris House immediately following the student presentation awards and Sh.O.R.E. conclusion. Books may be purchased for $10 (cash only) and signed on site by the author.

Books must be reserved in advance by contacting Dr. Woodall at SHORE@daytonastate.edu. Books may only be purchased at the event.

River Park Terrace restaurant, located adjacent to Harris House, will host a casual reception, as well as adult beverages for purchase during the author book signing and art exhibit.

Sh.O.R.E. is free to the public, but online preregistration is required by Thursday, Nov. 29, by visiting www.DaytonaState.edu/ShORE. Final registration will also be held at the door on the day of the event, starting at 9:30 a.m. Seating at the Brannon Center is limited. You can view and download the full agenda here.

Can’t attend Sh.O.R.E. but still want to get involved? Dr. Eriksen will be in town recording data on trash gathered from the beach and to assist we will be hosting a large beach clean up in Port Orange on Wednesday, November 28 from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. We will be using the Litterati app to collect information on trash picked up from our beaches, so be sure to bring your smart phone!  Download the flyer or visit the Facebook Event Page for more information.

Contacts:  Dr. Debra Woodall at 386-506-3765 or at SHORE@daytonastate.edu.
For all other media questions, contact lisa@marinediscoverycenter.org.

MDC Amphitheater Project Nearing Completion

MDC Amphitheater Project Nearing Completion

Osprey Nesting Platform

by Lisa D. Mickey

The sod is down, the frame is up, and MDC’s new amphitheater is set for completion later this month.

The thought of adding one more piece of the plan to the center’s overall vision has executive director Chad Truxall optimistic about the future.

“There have been some delays and challenges, but we are moving along,” said Truxall. “Our scheduled completion date is Nov. 21, and we’re hoping we can get there.”

Installation of the amphitheater roof has been delayed while the project engineer and roof manufacturer sort out some issues with the correct roof specifications. Once the roof is installed on the frame, Truxall said the roof will be painted green and the supporting frame structure will be painted brown.

Rounded cement stairs leading up to the stage were recently poured with the first installments of the personalized legacy bricks planned for next week. The final touch around the staging area will include stucco with a coquina finish.

Sod will be installed adjacent to the stage once the staging area has been completed.

Sprinklers have been irrigating the common Bermuda sod in the audience seating area for the last few weeks. Truxall said the selected sod is a hardy grass that is soft and durable, yet won’t have to be irrigated.

The sidewalk leading into the amphitheater area will be lighted and there will be lighting on top of the stage, as well as a 20-foot-high pole light above the amphitheater seating.

“This has been something we’ve been planning for a long time and we’ve been into the construction phase of the project now for more than six months,” Truxall said. “Now, we are finalizing plans for the native landscaping to go around the facility, including using sea grapes, dune daisies, live oaks, cabbage palms, red cedar and numerous native species.”

Working with Doug Hunt of the Pawpaw Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, Truxall said plantings will be phased in, with additional trees and plantings on the property scheduled in a future installation.

“What’s exciting is the vision of what this entire property will become with a connectivity between the center and the restored salt marsh,” Truxall added.
“That was always the idea.”

MDC’s living shoreline area of the restored salt marsh has already become a welcoming spot for guests with purple-blooming muhly grass blowing in the breeze and picnic tables positioned above the living shoreline adjacent to the lagoon on the western side of the property.

Of course, once the amphitheater is completed, Truxall said the next consideration is how the facility will be used in an ongoing basis.

“We’ve talked about hosting a film series here with conservation-related films for the public followed by Q&A opportunities,” said Truxall. “We want to see how that blends with the current public lecture series and perhaps how the public lecture series can also utilize that facility.”

Truxall also hopes the amphitheater stage can be used as an outdoor classroom, as a central location for educational programming, for musical and live performances, and as center stage for MDC’s annual Lagoonacy festival.

Obvious partners to help bring the arts to MDC will be the neighboring Artists’ Workshop and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, added Truxall. The Hub on Canal Street and New Smyrna Beach’s Little Theater could also potentially partner with MDC to mesh the arts and sciences.

“I think the sky’s the limit in how we integrate this site with the arts, which is a unique part of our culture in this community,” said Truxall. “Maybe we’ll work with the Little Theater to host a play. We already have had some great ideas.”

MDC hopes to have a “soft opening” of the new amphitheater for the general public on Nov. 29, at which time Truxall hopes the film “Junk” will be shown prior to the annual ShORE symposium the next day at the Brannon Center. The keynote speaker for ShORE produced the film and would be present to meet the public that evening during the showing.

“As excited as I am about having the amphitheater, the future trails on the property and all the programming that will be possible, it’s most satisfying to realize the vision here is starting to come alive,” added Truxall. “The finished product is going to be truly exciting.”


Leave your mark on our new amphitheater…

Little Theatre Fundraiser for MDC

Little Theatre Fundraiser for MDC

Osprey Nesting Platform

The Little Theatre is hosting a fundraiser for MDC this
Thursday, October 18 at 8:00 pm!

Come out and support our community theater AND our mission to protect and restore the Indian River Lagoon at the PREVIEW showing of the play I’ll Be Back Before Midnight.

Tickets for the show are $20 which includes a $10 donation to Marine Discovery Center. Tickets can be purchased at nsbplayers.org or at the Little Theatre Company Box Office.