The Marine Environmental Education Center (MEEC) at the Carpenter House, located in Hollywood, Florida, opened in 2017 to educate the public about current marine science research taking place at Nova Southeastern University. When visiting the MEEC, guests get the chance to meet a green sea turtle, Captain, who has permanent injuries after a boat strike, while also learning about the plight of other endangered marine animals and conservation issues.
Since opening the MEEC, over 33,000 guests have visited Captain and learned about the struggles that sea turtles are facing worldwide. The MEEC has been developing education programs which integrate marine science into the grade level curriculum.
The goal is to build connections with classroom academic content and inspire students to take action in marine conservation on a local level. The MEEC has partnered with several local non-profit groups like Free Our Seas and Beyond and Surfrider Broward to educate the public on marine debris issues and local conservation efforts.
To expand the MEEC’s reach in the community, they have recently welcomed two new staff members, thanks to the support from The National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation.
Laura Palomino joins the MEEC team as the Education Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator. She grew up in the fast-paced life of Miami, FL, but has spent most of her time underwater with over 500 dives (...and counting!). As an AAUS scientific diver, Laura has had the opportunity to work on various projects including fish surveys, Elkhorn coral health assessments and outplanting in the keys, and lionfish and marine debris removals in Biscayne National Park. She graduated from the University of Florida, with a B.S in Interdisciplinary Marine Science and then moved to the Florida Keys to intern with ReefEnvironmental Education Foundation (REEF) and pursue a career in marine conservation. Laura discovered her passion for citizen science, environmental education, and lionfish awareness. This lead her to work for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Biscayne National Park conducting lionfish management and education throughout South Florida. While working at Biscayne National Park, Laura was lucky to experience a sea turtle hatching event and help with stranded and injured turtles. Her interest in marine conservation and education brought her to the MEEC, where she is excited to work alongside Captain and the MEEC crew to promote ocean conservation and awareness.
Taylor Apter also joins the MEEC team. Originally from New Jersey, she learned at an early age to foster a love of the ocean at the Jersey shore. After graduating from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, she attended Stonybrook University where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Vertebrate Biology. Growing sick of the cold, she immediately moved to Florida to pursue her love of not only the ocean, but of SCUBA diving. Taylor worked as a SCUBA instructor for two years in Vero Beach, Florida, before being accepted to Nova Southeastern University’s marine science program. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science degree under Amy C. Hirons in the Charismatic Megafauna and Oceanography Laboratory. Her thesis is on the study of trophic dynamics and heavy metal contaminant levels in a threatened population of Northern Sea Otters. Taylor is very excited to combine her passion for marine creatures and education at the MEEC.
If you are visiting the Hollywood area and would like to stop by to meet Captain and the MEEC crew, public hours are 10am-5pm, Tuesday through Saturday! Follow us on Fackbook@seekthemeecand Instagram@the_meecfor updates and upcoming
National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation