Marine Environmental Education Center

Marine Environmental Education Center at the Carpenter House

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The much-anticipated Marine Environmental Education Center (MEEC) is now open at the historic Carpenter House at Hollywood North Beach Park in Hollywood. The center represents a collaboration between Broward County Parks and Recreation Division, which manages the park, and Nova Southeastern University, which will manage the MEEC through its Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography.
 
The mission of the MEEC is to provide outstanding marine education, interactive learning, and research with a focus on endangered sea turtles. The center will engage residents and visitors by increasing conservation awareness and action in a way that ultimately results in greater protection of our marine and coastal environments.
 
The MEEC will be open to the public on Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and specialized programs will be offered daily at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Admission is free, although a $3/person donation for ages 3 and up is suggested, both to offset operational costs and to support environmental outreach. Check here for the latest information.
 
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The centerpiece of the MEEC will be Captain, a juvenile green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) originally found in the basin of Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2010. The turtle had sustained injuries after being struck by a boat and was taken to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, where she was treated and rehabilitated. Eventually, in October 2013 - almost three years exactly since her initial rescue - Captain was released at Amelia Island, roughly halfway between Jacksonville and Jekyll Island.
 
Unfortunately, Captain was found stranded again a little farther south, in St. Augustine, less than a month later. Fortunately, she was readily identified, thanks to the two types of tracking tags she had been outfitted with at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
 
The turtle was first returned to the Georgia center, then transferred to the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota, where larger, deeper tanks made a more thorough evaluation possible. Now her permanent home will be at the MEEC, where the former swimming pool on the Carpenter House property has been transformed and customized to accommodate this special resident.
 
Along with Captain, the MEEC features an interpretive center with interactive displays on subjects ranging from sea turtle conservation to marine debris. Free programs on such topics as "Dune Ecology" and "Turtle Care and Enrichment" will be offered daily, Tuesday through Saturday, at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Beach walks will also be available, and there will be opportunities to meet Captain and observe her as she feeds.
 

Carpenter House at Hollywood North Beach Park

4414 Surf Rd., Hollywood, FL 33019
Phone: 954-357-5125
Email: MEEC@nova.edu