Taking ReeFLorida to Washington, DC

In February of this year, Frost Science was designated a Coral Reef Research Center by NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program. The museum had to meet a set of criteria listed by the federal Coral Reef Conservation Act to earn this title, including that we maintain significant local community engagement and outreach programs about coral reef ecosystems and that we have a record of coordinating closely with state and federal agencies on coral reef research and restoration. This important achievement builds on our NOAA-funded ReeFLorida initiative, a collection of education programming, conservation efforts, and collaborative research to protect Florida’s Coral Reef.

To celebrate the anniversary of the Coral Reef Conservation Act, Frost Science helped sponsor a reception for representatives from all US Coral Reef Jurisdictions and federal agencies that make up the US Coral Reef Task Force. The reception, led by the National Coral Reef Institute at Nova Southeastern University, was held at Florida House in Washington, DC on April 30. It was part of a larger meeting of the US Coral Reef Task Force held at NOAA headquarters from April 29 – May 3.

Frost Science Director of Science Communication Dr. Cassie Freund and Senior Aquarist Aaron Gavin attended the reception on the museum’s behalf. Other Florida organizations in attendance included Florida Sea Grant, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, FIU’s Institute of Environment, UM’s Rosenstiel School, and FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, among several others.

The primary focus of the event was networking. “It was exciting to meet coral conservation partners based in Washington DC,” says Freund. “We also made important new connections with Florida researchers and conservationists working toward the same goals as we have at Frost Science, to protect Florida’s Coral Reef. Believe it or not, we don’t all have a chance to get together very often!” The reception achieved its goal, bringing together dozens of people from across the country who care about our coral reefs.

To keep the momentum going, we at Frost Science are now looking forward to the upcoming 2nd Annual ReeFLorida Symposium, which will take place at the museum November 12 – 15, 2024. The Symposium is another opportunity for coral reef researchers, conservationists, and managers from across Florida and around the country to gather, share knowledge, and form new collaborations. We are now accepting presentation submissions for the Symposium. General registration will open on August 1. To learn more about the ReeFLorida Symposium, visit frostscience.org/symposium.