Caretakers of Mother Nature

May 1, 2024 | Read Time: 2 minutes

biologists helping sea turtle on beach

For the residents of Martin County, there’s no place like home, which includes the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s no wonder these organizations are celebrated by the community for their commitment to preserving our natural way of life.

Florida Oceanographic Society

Get an up-close-and-personal look at local marine life at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center. This 57-acre marine life nature center, located on Hutchinson Island, is run by Florida Oceanographic Society, a non-profit organization with the mission to inspire environmental stewardship of Florida’s coastal ecosystems. Visitors to the Coastal Center can experience interactions with stingrays and invertebrate species, as well as attend programs that offer information on local marine life, coastal habitats, and what we can do to protect them. The Coastal Center is also home to the Ocean EcoCenter, an educational space filled with life-like aquarium exhibits and interactive displays that teach about biodiversity, water quality, ocean health, and research projects conducted by Florida Oceanographic Society scientists.

nature center dedicated to Florida ecosystem

Hobe Sound Nature Center

People of all ages and abilities enjoy interactive, environmental education at the Hobe Sound Nature Center. Free, family-friendly programs include Night Explorers, Beach Dynamics, and weekly hikes along the trails. All-terrain wheelchairs are available for people with mobility issues. From May to mid-July, nighttime sea turtle walks at a public beach allow you to witness the rare spectacle of loggerhead sea turtles laying their eggs. Whether the wildlife presentations and nature experiences are on- or offsite, expert lecturers help you understand the mysteries of the world around you. Reservations are required, and programs fill up fast. Come nature-curious and leave an educated environmental advocate with a host of new, like-minded friends.

baby gator - Florida Ecosystem

Environmental Studies Center

Martin County’s public school system operates this center in Jensen Beach, which offers classes and hands-on field adventures for every grade. Students get out and explore the exotic Indian River Lagoon, pristine beaches, mangrove forests, freshwater ponds, and protected wetlands. Age-appropriate fun starts in Grade K, where students compare the characteristics and habitats of various sea turtles and tortoises. A chaperoned visit to protected turtle nests on a local beach cinches the excitement. High school students collect data that compares diverse communities from beach, dune, and rocky shorelines to mangrove and grass flats. Naturally, there are summer camp experiences that are unmatchable for creating future environmentalists.

Storie Magazine Cover


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