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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
October 2010
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
News & Notes


2011 Membership Drive
Oct. 1, 2010 - March 31, 2011

Become a Sanctuary Friend or renew your membership now and become eligible for a drawing for a framed print by renowned underwater photographer Stephen Frink! Memberships start at $30 and are good until Dec. 31, 2011. Please join us!

Bleaching Threatens World's Coral
Keys Reefs Escape Serious Harm

Despite worldwide reports of widespread coral die-offs due to bleaching caused by extreme heat this summer, the Florida Keys reefs appear to be escaping serious harm. Water temperatures have leveled off and the increasing winds and rains this month have reduced the chances of further bleaching.

Monitoring Coral ReefsOther areas of the southeast Caribbean and western Gulf of Mexico, however, have experienced "significant bleaching thermal stress," or high temperatures capable of causing coral bleaching, according to NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch. These conditions are similar to the thermal stress observed at the same time period in 2005, the year of a record mass coral bleaching event.
It will be months before this year’s toll is known for sure. But scientists tracking the fate of corals say they have already seen widespread bleaching in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific, with corals in Thailand, parts of Indonesia and some smaller island nations being hit especially hard earlier this year. Learn more about coral bleaching in the Florida Keys or become a BleachWatch observer.

If Reefs Could Talk: Aquarius 2010 Mission

Thursday marked the last day of the latest mission for Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research laboratory, deployed 3.5 miles offshore at a depth of 60 feet in the FKNMS near Key Largo next to spectacular coral reefs. This month’s mission lasted 10 days (with five additional days of training) and was titled “Aquarius 2010: If Reefs Could Talk.”
Aquarius Reef BaseScientists live and work underwater 24/7 in Aquarius using saturation diving to study and explore our coastal ocean. This technique enables the aquanauts to gather much more information than a normal dive team. Scientists can work out on the reef up to nine hours a day without fear of getting the bends, compared to one hour if they had to work from the surface. Increased research time on–bottom is the key element that enhances scientific productivity beneath the sea.
This most recent mission, sponsored by the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program, incorporated live educational broadcasts into the daily lives of the aquanauts and associated scientists to bring the science of ocean conservation and the underwater world to communities nationwide. Several schools and aquariums even had the opportunity to interact directly with the aquanauts while they are living in Aquarius.
Although the aquanauts took time to conduct live broadcasts, their main focus remained the science behind the mission.They were studying the behavioral interactions of fishes that live in a range of coral habitats across the Conch reef area. All this information will help marine biologists everywhere have a much better understanding of coral reef communities and how diverse species interact to find prey and avoid predators.
Aquarius is owned by NOAA and is operated by the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Learn more about the mission and view archived broadcasts.

Florida Keys EcoWeek is Here!

The first annual Florida Keys EcoWeek is here! From November 1-7, more than 50 environmental and healthy-living events will take place in every part of the Keys – from Key Largo to Key West – spanning a total of more than 115 miles.
The Mission of EcoWeek is to educate and celebrate environmental preservation. The core purpose is to promote sustainable ecotourism, to enhance the local economy in an environmentally-responsible way and to attract ecologically- and socially-conscious individuals to the Keys. Events vary from participating in nature, to listening to speakers to viewing films. Divers and snorkelers can partake in a lionfish safari, coral restoration, fish surveying, sea grass monitoring or other special activities. Entertainment will include keynote speakers, workshops, fairs and expos, paddleboarding, ecotours, fashion shows, music fests, dining, drinking and shopping.
Florida Keys EcoWeek
Don’t miss the Environmental Film Festival sponsored by Sanctuary Friends Monday through Saturday at 6:30 pm at the Eco-Discovery Center. On Wednesday, Nov. 3, filmmaker Bill MacDonald will make a special guest appearance to talk about plastics in the ocean. He will present five short films, interspersed with audience participation and dialogue. And for the close of the EcoWeek film festival on Sunday, Nov. 7, come for a double feature at 2 pm and 4 pm.
Florida Keys EcoWeek 2010 offers everything an "eco" heart desires. View the entire listing of events and make your plans to attend!


Climate Action Day - Solutions for the Keys

More than 100 people in the Keys attended free screenings of the films “The Age of Stupid” and “Fuel” sponsored by Sanctuary Friends for Climate Action Day on 10-10-10. Attendees ranged in age from 8 to 80 and were encouraged to take individual action using provided handouts: (1) a tips sheet on reducing your carbon footprint via every day actions; and (2) a contact sheet with the names of government representatives at the Federal, State and County level along with instructions on how to call or write those officials to express their views, concerns and requests to address global climate change issues. To receive copies of these handouts, contact Diana Ruelens.
Key West Climate Action DayParticipants left the educational event empowered to be Climate Heroes and learned how to avoid the "Bystander Effect" - where individuals readily act in response to an emergency or crisis when they are alone, but freeze or fail to act when in a group setting - so eloquently described in the article by Audrey Schulman, published in the May/June 2008 issue of Orion magazine. Read more about Sanctuary Friends' participation in's Climate Action Day.

Birding & Wildlife Festival Report

Sanctuary Friends was represented at the Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival in Marathon last month, offering information about our organization and a drawing for a hat or embroidered shirt. The lucky winners were: Dee DeJong from Everglades City and Paige Clem of Key West.
Attendance was up this year and it was nice to see so many families come out and enjoy the festival. SF’s Diana Ruelens reports the weather was great – hot, but very windy. A BIG thank you goes out to Robert Keeley for saving our E-Z UP with bags of sand - without them we would have lost it! Look for Diana and the Sanctuary Friends booth (and sign up for another drawing) at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on Dec. 11.

Sanctuary Staff Honored by State Agency

FKNMS’s Susan Dunn and Jennifer Baxter were recognized as September Employees of the Month for Florida DEP's Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA). As administrative assistants, their professionalism and patience is appreciated the staff and public. Dunn, who lives in Homestead, has been with CAMA since 2006, works in the sanctuary's Key Largo office. Baxter of Big Coppitt has worked in the sanctuary's Key West office since 2008.

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In This Issue:
From the Board
Worldwide Coral Bleaching
Aquarius 2010 Mission

Upcoming Events

From the Board

Dear Friends:
Visitors to the Florida Keys are often surprised we don't have natural white sand beaches here because of our offshore reef system. Instead, our islands are fringed with the bushy growth of mangroves growing in dense thickets at the edge of the sea. These low-growing trees have interlaced roots fastened to the bottom and actually grow in salt water! They provide extensive habitat for juvenile fish and invertebrates vital to our Florida Keys ecosystem.
During October, Dr. John S. Burke, a NOAA Fisheries biologist, has been studying fish sheltered by mangroves and surveying their movements to nearby feeding grounds as part of the current Aquarius mission. In special live broadcasts from Aquarius, Dr. Burke explained why fish in the mangroves are important to reefs five miles out to sea. "Reefs don't exist in a vacuum," he said. "They need the surrounding habitats to support them."
The same could be said for our FKNMS: the Sanctuary doesn't stand alone, but works together with individuals, businesses and communities to protect and preserve our marine environment. Please join us and be a part of that effort by visiting our website and becoming a "Sanctuary Friend!" Welcome aboard!
Judy Halas, Secretary
Board of Directors

Upcoming Events

Please add your upcoming events to our online Florida Keys Environmental Event Calendar. This community-wide resource allows any environmentally-related organization or group to set up an account and post events.

Dry Tortugas 75th Anniversary
Nov. 5, 6-9 pm, Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
Cocktail reception and buffet supper to benefit the work of the South Florida National Parks Trust. Tickets: $75 per person.

Lionfish Derby
Nov. 13, Hurricane Hole Marina, Key West
Teams of up to four divers can help capture and remove non-native lionfish from Keys waters in this unique spin on a fishing tournament. Derby divers who successfully remove lionfish from sanctuary waters are eligible for more than $3,000 in cash and prizes per derby. $100 registration fee for a four-person team.
More information or register.

EcoWeek Florida Keys
Nov. 1-7

It's here! Inaugural Keys-wide event to educate and celebrate environmental preservation. View events in the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys to celebrate healthy living, a healthy planet and peaceable and sustainable communities.

Environmental Film Festival
Nov. 1-6 at 6:30 pm and Nov. 7 at 2 pm & 4 pm, Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
As a part of EcoWeek, Sanctuary Friends presents: “Understanding and Action to Preserve What We Love – An Environmental Film Series.” Immerse yourself through film and discussion in the environmental issues facing this precious island paradise we call the Florida Keys. Films include: A Sea Change, Sharkwater, Fuel and others. More information and full schedule.

Welcome New Members
September / October 2010
Thank you for your support!
Sanctuary Buddy $30
Sally Burke
 Deborah Curlee
Sidney Goldman
Sanctuary Donor $100
Christi Allen
  Sanctuary Patron $500
Billy & Laura Causey

Coming ...
Eco-Discovery Tours

Discover the Florida Keys through eco-friendly and historical excursions. For more information or to request a brochure, call 305-289-2288 or email.

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! More information. Email.
Tel: 847-612-4712.

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.
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
11450 Overseas Hwy., Suite 102
Marathon, Florida 33050
Tel: (305)
289-2288 Fax: (305) 289-2289

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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
PO Box 504301
Marathon, FL 33050

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