South Florida Science Center & Aquarium

The Annette Urso Rickel Foundation will be funding STEAM programming by the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. The program will include efforts to preserve and rebuild South Florida coral reef formations.

Program Description

Florida is the only state in the continental United States to have extensive shallow coral reef formations near its coasts, most especially off the coast of Palm Beach. Coral reefs in South Florida comprise a fragile ecosystem, therefore, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium has partnered with The Reef Institute, a world-renowned coral research and education facility, to create The Coral Reef Restoration Exhibition, a one-of-a-kind aquarium exhibit to educate and promote awareness of this specialized habitat. This exhibit will educate visitors on the coral crisis and world-class marine biologists will propagate coral on-site in our customized tanks. The Science Center, as a collaborative conservation initiative with the Reef Institute, will be at the forefront of reversing damage and restoring the health of our Florida Reef Tract.

The Coral Reef Restoration Exhibition, for which we are seeking support, will be all encompassing to include various live corals and organisms that live within a coral reef environment with emphasis on promoting preservation and displaying a healthy marine habitat to educate our 300,000 visitors per year. South Florida’s most common reef-building corals are brain, star, elkhorn and staghorn which will all be on display. Interactive modules will also be included to educate visitors and illustrate the critical necessity to preventing the catastrophe decline of coral reefs.

Additionally, programmatic components and outreach projects about coral conservation will be offered to Title I schools, and other marginalized students. Programs will emphasis the importance of preserving coral habitat and will include exposure to animals such as spiny lobster, sea stars, conchs, and non-living coral formations.

The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium offers exhibitions and educational programming for all ages and genders, including those with physical and mental challenges. One hundred percent of the organization’s programs on behalf of Title I students, and other marginalized populations, are underwritten by grants. The Science Center, with a mission to open every mind to science, offers quality educational programs made available and accessible to all ages and demographics. We accomplish this by offering proven, exceptional programs supporting science, conservation, the environment, technology, and math initiatives for students and providing unique guest experiences for families and senior citizens. We are a community-based, hands-on science center serving residents of South Florida with enriching science education experiences. We excite students, teachers, and families with an ever-changing array of exhibits and programs, partner with local school districts to ensure that teachers and students in south Florida are among the most scientifically literate in the United States, work with universities and research institutions to communicate and promote the scientific achievements taking place in the region and help prepare our local workforce for jobs in science, conservation, technology, engineering, and math.

The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium defines science as adventure with a purpose. With that in mind, we know that the earlier a student is involved in science activities that are fun and thought-provoking, the more effective they will be as learners and citizens. If our country is to maintain its competitive edge in the world today, young people must become scientifically literate. We provide science education activities in an informal environment where learning is broader than schooling and personal experiences often play a crucial role.