The Florida Reef Tract (FRT) is the largest coral reef ecosystem in the continental US, with its extensive shallow coral reefs that span 358 miles from the Dry Tortugas near Key West, north along the Atlantic coast to Martin County. It is home to many colorful parrotfish, nurse sharks, stingrays, manatees, turtles, angelfish, wrasses, barracuda, delicate corals, other invertebrates. The Reef Institute is committed to creating future stewards to ensure the continued life of our Florida Reef Tract.
The Reef Institute relates all programming, education and research back to the EPA’s Stewardship Continuum. Beginning at the awareness level with basic outreach events and ending with stewards gaining a greater understanding and appreciation of our environment.
Awareness - The Reef Institute works with local governments, schools, and partners to create meaningful outreach events and field trips for the public to gain understanding and awareness of our Florida Reef Tract. Shell yeah its important!
Knowledge - Through distance learning, students from all over the world can interact directly with our Biologists, Scientists, and Marine Veterinarian to learn about the importance of the Florida Reef Tract to the global community. Outdoor classrooms allow for students to experience the Florida Reef Tract
Critical Thinking - With current threats to our Florida Reef Tract, The Reef Institute focuses education on gaining critical thinking and skills by infusing Next Gen Standard curriculum with Social and Emotional Learning.
Problem Solving - The Reef Institute utilizes a student-centered approach for in which K-12th grade students learn about a subject by working in groups to solve an open-ended problem. This problem is what drives the motivation and the learning.
Decision Making - To Seas or Not to Seas? Last semester interns researched mineral and chemical sunscreens to help make informed decisions of the efficacy of human impact on our coral reefs. The Reef Institute instills an ability to make difficult decisions into our interns to ensure our seas will always be.
Action - The key to the survival of our Florida Reef Tract is to ensure marine scientists take action in the face of disaster. Our scientists are working on several research projects, including the spawning and seedbanking of Caribbean coral.
Stewardship - If there’s a will, there’s a wave. Through all of The Reef Institute’s programming and efforts, our greatest hope is to prepare the next generation to be stewards with an internal drive to continue to learn and utilize their skills.