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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys

  From the Board
Our Amazing Ocean

Hot Issues
Programs & Projects
Upcoming Events

Will you be a Friend?

Make your New Year's Resolution now.
Join Sanctuary Friends
and become a Friend of the Reef!

News & Notes
January 2009


  Our Amazing Ocean

Underwater Astonishments

Check out this jaw-dropping video of amazing sea creatures that live in the blackest depths of the ocean. Oceanographer David Gallo shows us some of the most unique color-shifting, camouflaging and brightest neon fish — and demonstrates just how little we yet know about our important and amazing ocean planet.


  Hot Issues

Snapper Ledge SPA Designation
In Progress

Professional Underwater Photographer Stephen Frink’s photo below ultimately led to more than 2,500 people signing a petition to have Snapper Ledge reef off Tavernier designated a Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA). A few weeks ago, NOAA agreed to include Snapper Ledge in their upcoming planning for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It’s not a done deal, but the expectation is that Snapper Ledge will be designated an SPA sometime this year. Thanks to all those who helped make this happen. Stay tuned for updates.

Add your signature to the petition.

Read Frink's account of devastation at Snapper Ledge.

Nurse Shark at Snapper Ledge

  Programs & Projects

Tons of Trash

Twelve volunteers hauled in roughly 100 pounds of trash per person (1,210 total) during Team OCEAN’s Public Lands Day Archer Key Coastal Cleanup in September.

The haul included:|

  • 210 styrofoam buoys
  • 273 pounds of assorted trash, including pool toys, PVC pipe, buckets, plastic crates, plastic containers (some fuel-filled), glass jars, bottles, pieces of fiberglass and fluorescent light tubes.
  • 937 lbs of assorted line (90 percent trap line)

“It is hard to fathom that so much trash could be accumulated on just one small island,” said Todd Hitchins, Team O Coordinator.

Sanctuary Friends supports the work of Team OCEAN (Ocean Conservation Education Action Network), which coordinates volunteers to help with outreach and education efforts in Sanctuary special use and protected waters.


Coordinator Robert Keeley poses with one tangled wad of trap line weighing 355 pounds. The total weight of trap line collected represents approximately eight miles of line brought in by volunteers!

 Sanctuary Friends is pleased to announce
a new Eco-Friendly service for the Keys community

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 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

 From the Board


Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Sanctuary Friends newsletter. We have lots of thoughts and plans for content, and we definitely want to hear your ideas. We’d love to consider including your news and stories, so please submit your news items here.

Do you have an environmentally-related event? We are building the central environmental calendar for the Keys. Submit your calendar item.

Please help us get the word out by sharing our newsletter with your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Click to Forward or Subscribe.

And if you’re not a member yet, we’d love to count you as a Sanctuary Friend by joining our organization. Your contribution to our work and ultimately to the programs we support, in any amount, is always appreciated and put to great use.

Oh! And thank you for being a Friend …


Dolly M. Garlo, Board Chair

Upcoming Events


Catch some of the best environmental films for at the Eco-Discovery Center (EDC) in Key West. Wednesdays (through February 25) are movie nights with short films starting at 6:00 p.m. and features at 6:30 p.m. A brief educational presentation will introduce the films and explain the relationship to the Keys ecosystem.
Jan. 28: Guy Bradley, America's First Environmental Martyr and Heat, a documentary about global climate change. For more information, contact or call the EDC at 305-809-4750.


20th Annual Terry Cassidy Pickin' Party
Music by: Terry Cassidy, Howard Livingston, Pat McCune, the Piper Road Spring Band, Joe Mama and Jeep.

This benefit for Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys also supports Green Living & Energy Education (GLEE) recycling education efforts: Readily available recycling bins, serving on biodegradable (non-plastic) plates and cutlery, and donating leftover fried turkey grease to make biodiesel.

When: Sunday, Feb. 1, noon - 6 p.m.
Where: Big Pine Key grounds, mile marker 30.5 on US 1.
Price: admission!
* Food and beverages available for purchase
* Silent Auction, raffle prizes
More information: Call (305) 872-4456

News Updates

Did you know you could get news about a variety of topics affecting our reef all in one spot? Sanctuary Friends searches the most current news stories and posts them on our website under Latest News.

We also have a great Resource Library with links to websites of interest to our members and friends.


sand key.jpg

During 21 field trips in 2008, 384 middle and high school students participated in the traditional Coral Reef Classroom program. Pictured here is Ocean Reef Academy with Teacher Nicky Laak at Carysfort Reef in May.

Our Mission

Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys supports the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary 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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