The Marine Discovery Center – “Nature Is Always Open”

A message from MDC’s Executive Director

I hope this note finds each of you well, both mentally and physically.  Our lagoon, creeks, and ocean are beautiful this time of the year.  The water is still very clear and the neoprene warmth that accompanies Winter is no longer required.  
I know it’s challenging for some of you, but we highly encourage you to get outside and explore the natural world in your backyard and your neighborhood.  Go for a walk, take a bike ride, but most importantly, tune your senses to the natural world that surrounds you.  Your submersion into nature may not be in the water but I promise, you will feel better.  
As we hone our senses to connect deeper into our natural world,  our innate curiosity takes over and helps us live in the moment.  The athletic plunge of an Osprey diving for a fish, the hilarious push-ups performed by male Cuban anoles, or the innocent southern toad emerging from the ground after winter hibernation…these and many more stories are playing out in our backyards and neighborhoods, and I encourage you to take the time and observe.

Like you, we have gone through many emotions in dealing with the pandemic.  These emotions include fear, anger, surprise, confusion and many more.  As we begin to transition into our new normal for the next several months, our team has developed several new ways to keep each of you engaged. These opportunities include daily backyard scavenger hunts for plants and animals, a series of virtual education programs for a variety of ages, and ways that you can help build community by supporting MDC and our Love Our Lagoon partners.  We hope to see each of you participate in these upcoming explorations.  Until next week, explore your waters.


How to Support the Marine Discovery Center

The Marine Discovery Center is featuring items in the gift shop that you can order and pay for online and then pick up at MDC. Help brighten someone’s day and give the gift of MDC – your purchase will help them continue the mission to protect and restore the Indian River Lagoon during these uncertain times brought about by COVID-19.

Available for curbside pickup or local delivery! Please contact Wendy Castino at to arrange pickup or delivery.

This week’s featured Treasure of the Lagoon:

Sweet Hu-Manatee | $85

Feeling a little out of sorts with the state of the world? Snuggle up to this 22″ plush manatee, sweeten a cup of hot tea with four local honeys from S&S Apiaries, and cozy up with a good book about Manatee Magic. Don’t worry about losing your spot – included is a watercolor manatee bookmark. Have to run out to the mailbox and want to look fashionable for the neighbors? Wear your very own Mystic Pearl manatee necklace for that extra hint of sparkle.
You can take home (or have delivered locally) all of this for just $85 plus tax. 

Marine Discovery Center’s Virtual Programming

MDC is getting into the virtual programming game! Using the Zoom platform, not only have they been able to maintain twice weekly staff meetings, they have started debuting free virtual programming. 

They want to assure you that they have been careful to enact all the safety protocols to make their Zoom experiences positive ones.  A webpage dedicated to virtual programming will be coming to their site soon as they hope to continue this mode of learning even after the pandemic has calmed down.

MDC’s Little Lessons

Last week Michelle, joined by Chad and Traci, debuted her first webinar directed towards pre-K to 2nd grade kiddos. This program on Amazing Arthropods was a success!

Today she continued with the MDC’s Little Lessons series by teaching attendees about Marvelous Mollusks. Did you miss it? Watch it here. MDC had guests not only from Florida but also Pennsylvania, Maryland and Alabama!

Join them next Wednesday at 10 a.m. as we learn about Jazzy Jellies. You can register online HERE.

Back Yard Scavenger Hunt

Be sure to join MDC each day on their Facebook Page as they play the Great Back Yard Scavenger Hunt! They will post an animal or plant species and ask you to post pics if you spot them.

Conservation Science Webinars

This Thursday and Friday our Conservation Science team will be presenting two new webinars. They look to continue a series of webinars moving forward.

Tune in on Friday, April 10 at 10:30 am for Microplastics Galore! Join MDC as they walk through the steps of microplastics research – you will learn about what microplastics are, how scientists conduct microplastics research, and what you can do to help! Register online HERE.

Speaking of microplastics…

The MDC conservation science team has been working hard, even with stay at home orders.

Working from home means bringing the science into the kitchen! The last set of microplastics samples were processed and counted by MDC staffer Tess Sailor-Tynes in her make-shift lab. There were a total of 37 microplastic particles identified in the March samples, which is lower than most averages (yay!). Clear fibers were the most commonly found type, followed by blue fibers. Thanks to all the volunteers who made this research possible!

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