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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys

In this Issue:

News & Notes
November 2009

Sanctuary Friends Foundation

  Our Amazing Ocean

Take the Environmental Pledge
to Help Save OUR Coral Reef

You can help save this nation's only living barrier coral reef by signing the Sanctuary Friends Environmental Pledge today! Your name will be added to the thousands of others who also believe that OUR National Treasure should be cherished and protected. Our goal is 5,000 signatures.
It is not a commitment to us; you are committing to yourself to be active in helping preserve the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Moreover, we will do our best to provide you with information and strategy in order to be most effective in your mission.
Environmental PledgeSanctuary Friends Environmental Pledge

• I understand the fragile nature of the unique marine environments that surround our Florida Keys. I know that if we treat our coral reefs, inshore waters, and natural resources with care, respect, conservation, and preservation they will endure for our future and the future of our children.

• I understand that our waste does not just disappear into the water; it persists and is greatly detrimental to the ecology of our environment. I will not add my waste to the waters or the lands and I will remove the waste of others as best I can.

• I will conserve our reefs, seagrass meadows, and fisheries by heeding the rules and regulations that serve to protect and preserve our natural resources. I will not degrade or destroy corals, fish, lobsters, or other organisms through ignorance or carelessness.

• Our coral reefs and inshore waters are in great need of care and restoration. I will support and aid the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and other organizations in our efforts to sustain and repair our unique marine ecosystems.

• Respect for our natural world is the foundation of conservation and preservation of our natural resources. I will make this respect the foundation of my use and enjoyment of the great natural resources of our Florida Keys.

• Others will follow my example if I communicate my knowledge and caring through my actions and by sharing the Sanctuary Friends Environmental Pledge.

Take the Sanctuary Friends Environmental Pledge.

Hot Issues

South Florida Officials Pledge to Work Together on Climate Change Issues

Several Keys public officials attended the first-of-its-kind Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit in Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 23 along with counterparts from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. More than 350 elected officials and agency representatives were in attendance, all working together on climate change issues.

Regional Climate Leadership SummitNewly-elected Key West Mayor Craig Cates represented Key West in a panel discussion about local climate change initiatives, and Monroe County Mayor (and Sanctuary Friends' Vice Chair) George Neugent delivered an address emphasizing the value of a regional climate change strategy.

At the conference's end, representatives of all four counties signed a Climate Collaboration Compact pledging to develop a Southeast Regional Climate Change Action Plan and to convene again next October. The plan will outline regional strategies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and increased reliance on public transit. It also will include adaptation strategies that would account for rising sea levels, saltwater intrusion into the aquifers and for the possibility of amplified hurricane strength driven by warming seas. The agreement provides a commitment to working together on local, state and federal issues.

Florida is one of the most vulnerable states to the consequences of global climate change. All of South Florida shares common problems, including potential threats to regional freshwater supplies and impacts to streets, beaches, the Everglades, coral reefs and the Biscayne Aquifer. It is estimated more than 30 percent of Florida's population resides in these counties, so together they can make a difference in addressing this critical issue.

The Regional Climate Leadership Summit is the initial event to achieve this partnership goal. At no other time have four Florida counties united with such a strong voice. Congratulations on a good start!

 Programs & Projects

International Climate Change Movement:
Florida Keys Team Up with

Journalists across four continents have now called it “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history” as citizens in 181 nations staged actions on International Day of Climate Action, October 24, to demand a quicker response to climate change. A group of committed environmental supporters in the Florida Keys participated in one of 5,200 events held around the globe.

350.orgThe rallies, events and other activities, which began at dawn in New Zealand, swept around the world as the sun rose. All the actions focused on a number – 350 – that scientists have said is the most carbon dioxide, measured in parts per million, that the atmosphere can safely hold.

“These are the kinds of crowds that turn out for rock stars or charismatic politicians, but instead they are rallying around a scientific data point,” said Bill McKibben coordinator of the campaign. “They’re asking our leaders to lead – to pay attention to scientific reality, not political convenience.”

In Key West at the Eco-Discovery Center, the day was commemorated by showing two educational films about the effects of climate change, with a discussion of the significant negative impacts resulting sea level rise might have here. Click here for a graphic representation of what Key West would look like with various amounts of sea level rise. Much of it would be gone.

The Keys event, jointly promoted by Sanctuary Friends and Green Living and Energ
y Education (GLEE) as a “blue and green coalition,” carried the message “Save our Islands and our Reefs! Reduce emissions now! 350.” The films were the first in a series of environmental movies to be shown during the 2009-2010 season. More information on upcoming films, with dates and locations, will be available at

Sanctuary Awards First Blue Star Designation
Amy Slate's Amory Dive Resort in Key Largo is the first scuba dive operator to receive the Blue Star designation for ecosystem protection from the FKNMS. Blue Star was established to recognize companies that work to protect the coral reef ecosystem of the Florida Keys by promoting proper dive etiquette and educating the public about the impact human actions can have on the marine environment.

Blue Star operators are required to attend training annually on issues affecting coral reefs, sanctuary regulations and coral reef etiquette - and, in turn, educate their customers. They also must offer conservation-related dive courses and participate in activities such as fish counts and reef cleanups. Recognized Blue Star operators can be found at Funding for the program comes from Mote Marine Laboratory's Protect Our Reef Grants Program and Sanctuary Friends.

 Petition Seeks Protection for 83 Coral Species in U.S. Waters
The Center for Biological Diversity hopes to get protection for 83 of the most vulnerable corals within U.S. waters. The organization filed a scientific petition on Oct. 20 for these species to be named as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Protecting these 83 corals under the Act would provide a safety net for imperiled coral reefs, requiring habitat protections and making it unlawful to harm or kill corals. Protection would also require federal agencies to conserve and recover the coral species and to evaluate the impacts of agencies' actions - including those that contribute to greenhouse gas pollution - on the listed corals.

The declines of the petitioned-for corals have been linked to numerous major threats, including destructive fishing practices, overharvest, disease, predation, pollution and physical damage from boats. But the greatest threat of all to coral reefs is carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.

The Center seeks protection for all corals in U.S. waters for which population declines have been estimated at more than 30 percent in 30 years. These include eight coral species in Florida and the Caribbean, eight corals in Hawaii and 67 corals occurring in American territories of the Pacific. More information.

View the entire petition.

Last chance to change from our Facebook Group to our FAN PAGE.
Click below to become a fan of Sanctuary Friends.

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Updates, photos, videos, latest coral reef headlines and like-minded friends:
all in one place!

We want your input! If you have stories of note or just want to comment on our newsletter, please email:
We're developing a Central Environmental Calendar for the Keys. If you have an upcoming event with an environmental focus or that relates to our fabulous Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, please email:

Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization (Tax ID# 59-2443959).
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Happy Thanksgiving!
Let's be thankful for our coral reef and marine ecosystems:

Become a Sanctuary Friend
and support
their preservation, restoration and sustainable use.

 From the Board

In this issue, we unveil the Sanctuary Friends Environmental Pledge - along with its online home on the new Sanctuary Friends website. "Taking the pledge" is a simple way you can support our unique Florida Keys natural environment -- our waters, seagrass meadows and coral reefs are a national treasure and our most valuable community asset.

We cannot protect what we do not understand; we will not protect what we do not love and value. Sanctuary Friends Foundation is committed to education, protection, enhancement and sustainable use of our fragile natural resources, and we know it is essential to spread this commitment to our community and to our visitors. This is our collective responsibility, not just someone's job.

With the unveiling of the Pledge and our new website, we have begun our yearly membership drive. You can go online right now to renew your membership or join us as a Sanctuary Friend. While you're there, take the Pledge: print out a copy and display it proudly and prominently in your office or workplace so others recognize your commitment and can be inspired to do the same. We thank you in advance for your commitment.

Martin "Skip" Moe
Director and Membership Committee Member

Visit Our New Website!
After months of work, we are elated to announce that our newly re-designed website is now online! It has many new features, so please go explore. Here are some highlights:

Check out our new digs at!

Upcoming Events

Safe Boating Course
Dec. 5, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, History of Diving Museum, Islamorada
Courses are offered the first Saturday of every month. Free. Visit the website to register for this or other Museum events.

Holiday Cayo Carnival
Fri., Dec. 11, 5-11 pm and
Sat., Dec. 12, 11 am - 11 pm, Key West
Reviving a 20-year tradition, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution presents
the rollicking Cayo Carnival to benefit Reef Relief. 18 hours of nonstop entertainment under a big-top tent at the Conch Republic Seafood Company, 631 Greene St., Key West. Talent lineup includes Howard Livingston & Mile Marker 24, Grammy-nominated Larry Baeder and Paul Cotton (of Poco) with his local band. Food, libations and environmental presentations. $5 entrance fee provides admission for both nights and all day Saturday. Contact: or (305) 849-2222.

Key Largo Holiday Boat Parade
Dec. 12, 7:30 pm, Key Largo

Schooner Wharf Bar Lighted Boat Parade
Dec. 12, 7:00 pm, Key West

Coming ...
"Eco-Discovery Tours:
Discover the Florida Keys through eco-friendly and historical excursions."
Thousands of islands ... thousands of stories

The Eco-Discovery Center and Sanctuary Friends team up to take visitors on journeys that will teach them about the history and natural wonders of the 1,700 islands that are called the Florida Keys.

Learn underwater photography from an instructor who knows the secrets of the reef, experience the rich history of writers that have called Key West their home, discover nature's beauty as you kayak under the moon through canopied mangrove islands or share a gourmet dinner with local chefs who are dedicated to using organic, local and Floridian delights.

For more information, call 305-289-2288 or e-mail to request a brochure.

EcoWeek 2010
Coming! Nov. 1-14, 2010
A Keys-wide event to educate and celebrate environmental preservation. Special activities in the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys. Inaugural event in 2010 to celebrate healthy living, a healthy planet and peaceable and sustainable communities.

Public Lands Day Beach CleanupRobert Keeley poses with 450 pounds of marine debris

Robert Keeley is pictured here with 450 pounds of net and lines collected from Woman Key in the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. Team OCEAN volunteers removed this and nearly 900 additional pounds of marine debris during beach cleanups celebrating Public Lands Day.

blue & green occasions

celebrating the event...
                 honoring the earth and sea


We invite you to hold your special celebrations, business meetings and other occasions in a meaningful way at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center. Our staff will help you celebrate in a green way, and your donations will help to give back to the “Sanctuary.” Call today to reserve your date and share your celebration with the earth and sea! Call 847-612-4712 or email.

Our Mission
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys supports the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) in the preservation, restoration, and sustainable use of our coral reef and marine ecosystems. We focus on development of community support and advancement of public awareness, education, outreach and scientific research.

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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
11450 Overseas Highway
Suite 102
Marathon, Florida 33050

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