Mote Marine Laboratory will celebrate the opening of its new satellite office in Boca Grande next week.
The new facility will expand Mote’s regional presence, helping to engage the surrounding community in tarpon and other marine research that Mote conducts in Charlotte Harbor and Southwest Florida while also highlighting new research directions designed to support conservation of area fisheries and habitat.
Boca Grande residents Andy Ireland, an honorary Mote trustee, and Capt. Philip O’Bannon, who will serve as executive director of the new Mote office, are spearheading the new facility.
Work is currently under way to expand Mote’s Beach Conditions Report, which provides the public with up-to-date information about whether beaches are impacted by red tide and other environmental conditions, to two sites on Boca Grande thanks to an anonymous donation.
“A lot of people think that scientific knowledge flows only one way: from scientists to the community,” said Dr. Michael Crosby, senior vice president for research at Mote, in a prepared statement. “But over Mote’s nearly 60-year history, we’ve shown that isn’t true. As an independent organization not tied to government or a university, we’ve always depended on strong ties to the communities that we work in. We’ve often found that we have as much to learn from local residents as we can share.”
Mote will celebrate the new facility at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the Boca Grande office, 480 E. Railroad Ave., Unit 7, Railroad Plaza, Boca Grande. An open house will take place from noon to 4 p.m. and will include a visit by Mote’s Mobile Aquarium.
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