How this Center came to be a reality is a story of cooperation between agencies and organizations - the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program (EEL), the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC), and the Richard K. Mellon Foundation. The Mellon Foundation donated the 34-acre parcel to Brevard County, the EEL Program developed and now manages the Center, and the Caribbean Conservation Corporation has partnered with the EEL Program to conduct the educational programs offered at the Center.
The Center opened May 10, 2008. It offers visitors a variety of sea turtle related exhibits and educational activities, including guided hikes throughout the year and turtle walks in June and July. The artwork for the exhibits in the Center was created by Melbourne Beach graphic design artist and scientific illustrator Dawn Witherington and is simply stunning in its beauty and detail. (Blair and Dawn's book, Florida's Living Beaches, is a must-have for any Florida beachcomber.) There's a slide show in the right-hand column that will give you an idea of just how interesting and unusual this place is.
The Center is chock full of talented staff. EEL South Beach Region Program Manager Ray Mojica is a computer whiz, and it shows in the wonderful interactive displays that entertain as well as instruct. Leslie Sprague from the CCC and her volunteers have created a gift shop that is a treat in itself (keep it in mind for Christmas gifts - it features the work of many local artists). The Center offers programs and classes ranging from how to construct a rain barrel to making oyster mats to helping put a roof on the Coconut Point Sanctuary Trail kiosk. Donna Lee Crawford is the Sanctuary Steward, and amongst many other things, she arranges for the Center's special events each month and send out a flyer on them (she also creates the most elegant plant arrangements out of natural materials). Nichole writes an excellent quarterly newsletter. Be sure to sign up to receive the monthly flyer and the newsletter (see Reference Links below or call Donna Lee at 321-723-3556). Grace runs the children's activity center, and the recent summer camp is already legendary! So much good stuff in one tidy building!
Barrier Island Center
Just The Facts
"BIG PICTURE" LOCATION: South Brevard, Barrier Island
WHEN TO GO: The Center is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.
Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge
Brevard County Environmentall Endangered Lands Program (EEL)
Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC)
Richard K. Mellon Foundation
Barrier Island Center newsletter and monthly events flyer - email Donna Lee at email@example.com
Florida's Living Beaches, by Blair and Dawn Witherington