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Weekly News Digest from Mote

Friday's News@Mote: 4-5-13
Published Friday, April 5, 2013
by Hayley Rutger

PHOTOS: Keys Ocean Festival Draws Thousands, Doubles its Support for ReefsStarting this Evening: Mote's Punta Gorda Lecture SeriesSaturday: Mote's 27th Annual Run for the TurtlesApril 17: Wine Tasting for Our Oceans at Harry's on Longboat KeyApril 27: Mote's Party on the Pass

Keys Ocean Festival Draws Thousands, Doubles its Support for Reefs

Sea fans, rejoice: The Fourth Annual Florida Keys Ocean Festival drew more than 7,500 visitors for ocean-themed education and fun on Saturday, March 30, benefiting coral reef research and restoration by Mote Marine Laboratory.

The Festival, which took place at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center in Key West, raised an estimated $32,000 for Mote’s Protect Our Reefs program — more than double the support raised last year. The festival also helped educate people of all ages about coral reefs and other natural ecosystems through conservation and environmental exhibits from more than 30 organizations.

“The positive feedback and support from the local community, visiting vacationers and city officials for the Ocean Festival have been nothing short of amazing,” said Jason Wolf, manager of Mote’s Protect Our Reefs program. “This event has helped put Mote and the Protect Our Reefs program at center stage in the Keys as a leader in marine conservation and coral reef restoration.”

Reefs around the world face multiple threats ranging from climate change and ocean acidification to pollution and disease. To help reefs recover, Mote has been working to understand, protect and restore reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary for more than a decade through efforts based at its Tropical Research Laboratory on Summerland Key. The Ocean Festival helps support these efforts while bringing oceans to life for the community.

clientuploads/4fridaynews/Ashland_and_Beau_Hebden_participate_in_fishing_seminar__Credit_Arwen_Hebden.jpegAshland and Beau Hebden, 5-year-old twin boys, fish during a catch-and-release seminar at the Fourth Annual Florida Keys Ocean Festival on March 30 in Key West. (Photo credit: Arwen Hebden)

clientuploads/4fridaynews/Jason_Wolf--Protect_Our_Reefs_program_manager_for_Mote,__Bill_Hoebee--radio_personality,__and_Wyland--renowned_artist__Credit_Roberta_DePiero.jpgJason Wolf, manager of the Protect Our Reefs program for Mote Marine Laboratory, Bill Hoebee, radio personality, and Wyland, renowned marine-life artist, pose with an artwork Wyland painted with kids at the Fourth Annual Florida Keys Ocean Festival. (Photo credit: Roberta DePiero)

“The festival is all about educating people and making sure they have fun while learning how to help pave the way toward a better future for our oceans and coastal environments,” Wolf said.

Education and fun came together in a big way for Ashland and Beau Hebden, 5-year-old twin boys who took part in a catch-and-release fishing seminar with their dad, Arwen. “You made my kids incredibly happy!” Hebden told event organizers from Mote. “It was my first fishing lesson too! I can't thank you enough.” The fishing seminar was led by Keys fishing guides and volunteers from Anglers for Conservation.

Kids at the festival also joined renowned artist Wyland to paint two 10-foot-long murals, which will later be auctioned to support Mote’s coral reef programs. Then Wyland used Sumi-E — a type of East-Asian brush painting — to make seven artworks that were auctioned during the event to support Mote and the Wyland Foundation.

This year, for the first time, the 5K Tuna Trot Race for the Reef was held in conjunction with the festival. The run, sponsored by the Charlie Bauer’s Smokin Tuna Saloon, Bombora Vodka, Michelob Ultra & Mote, drew 341 participants. The winner was Douglas Weeks, 24, of Key West, with a run time of 16 minutes, 35 seconds.  

Mote thanks the participating organizations and sponsors who made the Ocean Festival possible.

Participating organizations included:
Mote Marine Laboratory, Bahia Honda State Park, Dolphin Research Center, Florida Keys Mosquito Control, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary TEAM OCEAN, Florida Keys SPCA, Florida Keys Wildlife Center, Fort Zachary Taylor, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, History of Diving Museum, Key West Maritime Society, Key West Sail & Power Squardron, Key West Wildlife Center, Fury Conservation Foundation, Bonefish Tarpon Trust, FAVOR, Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge,  Florida Keys Wildlife Center, Key West Sail & Power Squadron, Key Deer Refuge, Wyland Foundation, Florida Water & Land Trust, National Weather Service, Pigeon Key Foundation, Reef Relief, Save-A-Turtle, SeaCamp, The Turtle Hospital, U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary, Friends of the Sanctuary and the Eco-Discovery Center.

Event sponsors included:
Shakespeare Fishing, Brekley Fishing Tackle, Reef Safe Suncare, Fury Water Adventures, Smokin Tuna Saloon, Charlie Mac’s Barbecue, Okuma Fishing, Hyper Tech Films, Key West Harbor Services, Westin Key West Resort, Keys Energy Services, Looe Key Dive Center, Southernmost Hotel Collection, Bombora Vodka, NOAA, U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary, Centennial  Bank, Blue Heaven, Little Palm Island/Ocean Key Resort, First State Bank.

Starting This Evening
Mote’s Punta Gorda Lecture Series
Learn about fish and other marine species of Charlotte Harbor from the researchers who study them during Mote’s Punta Gorda Lecture Series.
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight, April 5, and April 11, 17, 24, 29 and May 9

Where: Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association, 2001 Shreve Street, Punta Gorda
Cost: Free

RSVP required to secure your seat: Please contact Rachael Kraemer at: Rachael Kraemer at 941-205-3970, ext. 103 or
Upcoming lectures:
  • April 5:  Snook, Dr. Jim Locascio, post-doctoral scientist at Mote
  • April 11:  Dolphins, Kim Bassos-Hull, senior biologist, Dolphin Research Program at Mote
  • April 17:  Sea Turtles, "Ridley Riddles Unravel in Florida,” Dr. Tony Tucker, manager of Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program
  • April 24:  Sharks, Dr. Robert Hueter, associate vice president for research in Mote’s Directorate of Marine Biology and Conservation
  • April 29: Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Strandings: Gretchen Lovewell, manager of Mote's Stranding Investigations Program
  • May 9: Florida Red Tide, Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, manager of Mote’s Environmental Health Program

Mote's 27th Annual Run for the Turtles

clientuploads/4fridaynews/Run for the Turtles 2013 logo.jpgReady... Set... Go all out for sea turtles this Saturday, April 6, at Mote’s 27th Annual Run for the Turtles.

Registration is open through the morning of the Run, which includes a 5K sanctioned by the Manasota Track Club and a 1-mile fun-run/walk.

The Run has provided major support for Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program — an internationally recognized program that will soon begin its 32nd year coordinating sea turtle conservation along 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches.

Download and print a registration form at or register online at Participants can also register on-site starting at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, April 6 at the Siesta Key gazebo south of the pavilion.

April 17
Wine Tasting for Our Oceans at Harry’s on Longboat Keyclientuploads/4fridaynews/Harry's_Continental_Kitchens_logo_green_2013.png
Enjoy delicious wines while supporting another of the finer things in life: our oceans. Join us for a wine tasting benefiting Mote Marine Laboratory from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17 at Harry's Continental Kitchens, 525 Saint Judes Drive, Longboat Key.

Admission is $20 per person and $5 from each ticket will support Mote's research and education programs.

Guests can sample wines from two different vendors and enjoy scrumptious passed hors d’oeuvres and a display of artisanal cheeses and charcuterie. Admission includes a Harry’s coupon as well as a Govino wine glass. This event is suitable for ages 21 and older.

Reservations recommended. Please call Harry’s at 941-383-0777.

For questions, please contact Stacy Alexander at Mote: 941-388-4441, ext. 509 or

April 27
Mote's Party on the Pass
Pssst…pass it on: Mote’s gearing up for a fabulous Party on the Pass, our casual evening of good food, good fun and goodwill supporting Mote’s hospitals for dolphins, whales and sea turtles.

Businesses can help get this party started through special sponsorship opportunities that are now available. 

This annual fundraiser starts at 6:30 p.m. on April 27 in the The Aquarium at Mote, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota. Admission is $75 per person and includes beer, wine, food from the Sarasota-Manatee Originals and opportunities to participate in live and silent auctions.

All event proceeds benefit Mote’s ongoing care and rehabilitation of sick and injured sea life.

Reservations are required before April 11. Reservations and sponsorship: Contact Stacy Alexander at 941-388-4441, ext. 509, or

Learn more about the animals supported by Party on the Pass at: and

Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 research organization based in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations in eastern Sarasota County, Charlotte Harbor and the Florida Keys. Donations to Mote are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Mote is dedicated to today’s research for tomorrow’s oceans with an emphasis on world-class research relevant to conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats and natural resources. Research programs include studies of human cancer using marine models, the effects of man-made and natural toxins on humans and on the environment, the health of wild fisheries, developing sustainable and successful fish restocking techniques and food production technologies and the development of ocean technology to help us better understand the health of the environment. Mote research programs also focus on understanding the population dynamics of manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and coral reefs and on conservation and restoration efforts related to these species and ecosystems. Mote’s vision includes positively impacting public policy through science-based outreach and education. Showcasing this research is The Aquarium at Mote, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. Learn more at

Contact: Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236. (941) 388-4441 or

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Media Contact: Hayley Rutger, 941-388-4441, ext. 365,


State honors Mote and "Shark Lady" Eugenie Clark

Mote founder Genie Clark was inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame on March 23, 2010. Here, she shakes hand with Gov. Charlie Crist as Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum applauds (photo credit: Stacy Ferris/Governor's Office)

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