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FAU’s Friends of Harbor Branch Offers a Variety of Marine Science Summer Programs

BOCA RATON, FL (May 25, 2012) — Friends of Harbor Branch, a membership group that supports scientific research, innovation and technology developed at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI), will offer a full summer schedule of trips, tours and programs relating to marine science with a particular focus on the Indian River Lagoon. 

“Summer is a great time to learn about ocean science and the Harbor Branch marine research campus,” says Cindy Willson, membership and special events coordinator for the Friends of Harbor Branch.  “We have trips and tours for all ages, or you can just stop by our Ocean Discovery Center and play with the interactive exhibits and learn from our staff and volunteer guides.  Of course, we hope these activities prompt people to join the Friends of Harbor Branch, continue to learn about our environment, and promote our mission of ‘Ocean Science for a Better World.’”

Unless otherwise noted, the programs are free and open to the public and will take place at HBOI’s Ocean Discovery Center, 5600 US 1 North, Fort Pierce.  The Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Friends of Harbor Branch memberships are available at all levels with benefits that include special pricing on most tours, trips, lectures and programs. Advance reservations are required. 

For more information or to register, contact Cindy Willson at 772-242-2559 or

Behind the Scenes Tours of HBOI
Wednesday, June 27 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, July 18 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m .

This summer, the public is invited to attend Behind the Scenes Tours of HBOI, which are usually reserved for Friends of Harbor Branch members.  These small group tours take visitors onto the limited-accessible Harbor Branch campus to a world of discovery in the research laboratories where students, researchers and scientists explain some of the work underway in the fields of biomedical technology, aquaculture, marine discovery, and marine mammal research and tagging. The tours depart from the Ocean Discovery Center and finish just in time for lunch at Harbor Branch's Link Port Café. Reservations are required.


Hot Dog Party and Book Signing
Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
$5 donation includes hot dog, soda and chips

Authors Scott and Karen Lamberson will introduce "Professor Clark the Science Shark," a new children's book inspired by Harbor Branch's own scientist and explorer Brian LaPointe, Ph.D., at a hot dog party. The Lambersons and LaPointe will be on hand to sign books and answer questions. Representatives from Shark Savers and Coastal Ocean Association of Science & Technology will also be available with materials on ocean resource conservation. No reservations required for this fun event.


"Undersea Exploration: Past, Present and Future" Lecture
Tuesday, July 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Harbor Branch Johnson Education Center
$20 per person for members or $40 per person for nonmembers, lunch included

A talk about "Undersea Exploration: Past, Present, and Future" will be presented by Shirley Pomponi, Ph.D., research professor and executive director of the Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research & Technology. Current exploration of Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific makes Pomponi's presentation particularly relevant.  A lunch with Pomponi is included. Reservations are required.


Ecoboat Trips
Tuesday, June 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tuesday, July 31 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Harbor Branch Johnson Education Center
$40 per person for members or $50 per person for nonmembers, picnic lunch included

Ecoboat trips will be departing the Harbor Branch Link Channel for scheduled two-hour interpretative tours on the Indian River Lagoon throughout the summer.  The trips will be led by Captain Chop Lege and will begin with a walking tour of the trails of Harbor Branch and a chance to see the wildlife that lives on campus.  Tickets include a picnic lunch on board the pontoon boat "Gator."  Reservations are required.


"Dolphin Tale"
Thursday, July 12 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Johnson Education Center
Donations accepted

The public is invited to "chill" at the Johnson Education Center and watch "Dolphin Tale." This 2011 family film was inspired by the true story of "Winter," a bottlenose dolphin that was rescued in 2005 off the Florida coast. Stephen McCulloch, program manager for Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute's Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Program, will introduce the film and talk about marine mammal rescue in Florida.  The movie will be shown free of charge. Hot dogs and popcorn will be available. Reservations are not required for this event.


Evening Kayak Adventure
Saturday, July 21 from 4:30 p.m. until midnight
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
$35 per person

As the summer heat builds, the Indian River Lagoon comes alive with bioluminescence.  Tiny dinoflagellates make the water dance and speeding fish become underwater fireworks.  Friends of Harbor Branch will bring a group to Merritt Island for an evening kayak adventure they will never forget.  Jim Masterson, Ph.D., director of the Ocean Discovery Center, will accompany the group on this trip that combines science and kayak fun. Requirements are required. 


About Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute :
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University is a research institute dedicated to exploration, innovation, conservation and education related to the oceans.  Harbor Branch was founded in 1971 as a private non-profit organization. In December 2007, Harbor Branch joined Florida Atlantic University. The institute specializes in ocean engineering, at-sea operations, drug discovery and biotechnology from the oceans, coastal ecology and conservation, marine mammal research and conservation, aquaculture, and marine education. For more information, visit .

About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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