Legacy of the Lagoon
The Marine Discovery Center’s November online lecture will feature one woman’s lifelong experience on the water in her presentation, the “Indian River Lagoon Legacy.”
Lifelong Floridian Laurilee Thompson, whose family has owned and operated Dixie Crossroads Restaurant in Titusville since 1983, will be the guest speaker for this Zoom presentation.
Thompson’s 24 years of commercial fishing began at age 10 when she netted bait shrimp for sale at her grandfather’s fishing pier, and then built 150 crab traps, which she tended at age 16. The Titusville teen then bought a mullet boat and fished by gill netting until she moved offshore to work on larger commercial long-lining boats to fish for swordfish, tuna, red snapper and grouper.
By age 34, she had left the ocean and was working in her parents’ restaurant, which she now co-owns, but Thompson’s love of the lagoon and marine life has remained a constant focus in her advocacy efforts.
She is active in the Southeastern Fisheries Association and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Deepwater Shrimp Advisory Panel to ensure the survival of the nation’s commercial fishing industry.
She has also served in a variety of environmental capacities including as: vice president of the Merritt Island Wildlife Association and fund-raising chair for the $1.5 million campaign for the refuge’s educational exhibits; trustee for Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute; member of the IRL National Estuary Program’s management board; and member of the Titusville Environmental Commission.
Thompson founded the globally popular Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in 1997, and has served as festival chair in charge of field trips and classroom speakers. She is also a founding member of the Brevard Nature Alliance.
In addition, Thompson has won numerous honors and awards, including: the 2017 Southeastern Fisheries Association Member of the Year Award for leadership in restoring sea grasses in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) and liaison with the hospitality industry to save the culture of Florida’s Seafood Industry; 2015 Charlie Corbeil Conservation Award for exemplary contributions to conservation by a Space Coast citizen; 2013 Marine Resources Council’s Stan Blum Award for lifetime service to the IRL; and 1998 Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year for her work in eco-tourism.
For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.