Caribbean Conservation Corporation and Open Water Media Receive Royal Caribbean Ocean Fund Grant
for Barrier Island Center Mini-Documentaries


MIAMI-- The Royal Caribbean Ocean Fund has awarded a $40,000 grant to the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC) for the production of two mini-documentaries to be used at the new Barrier Island Center in the Archie Carr Refuge near Melbourne Beach, Fla. The short videos, which will also be distributed to other educational facilities, will be produced in collaboration with CCC by Open Water Media. The Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, which is developing and managing the Barrier Island Center, will also assist with the project.

This year the Ocean Fund also awarded grants to 14 other organizationsincluding the Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society.

The first film will be an introduction to the Barrier Island Center and surrounding habitats, while the second will focus on sea turtles and sea turtle research conducted in the refuge. Both programs will be officially released in conjunction with the grand opening of the center in late 2007. Later, the groups plan to extend the series to include individual videos focused on a cross section of specific barrier island habitats, from the Indian River Lagoon, to the beach, and offshore to the Oculina Banks deepwater coral reef, as well as a more in-depth video about sea turtles.

The overall goal for the series is to increase public awareness of the uniqueness, beauty, and fragile nature of the ecosystems and inhabitants within and adjacent to Florida's eastern barrier islands. The programs will also explain how critical healthy marine and coastal habitats are to fisheries, tourism, and endangered and threatened sea turtles.

Dr. Archie Carr, a sea turtle biologist and writer from the University of Florida, and others, founded the Caribbean Conservation Corporation in 1959. The organization now supports sea turtle research around the world, including in the Archie Carr Refuge, where it also conducts turtle walks each summer.

"We're very excited about the opening of the Barrier Island Center and happy to be a part of this new program to showcase the area and the sea turtles," said David Godfrey, CCC's executive director.

The Open Water Media team has a long history producing video and other educational and outreach materials, many focused on ocean topics. The group received a previous grant from the Ocean Fund to produce Sea Profiles, an award-winning educational CD-ROM that covers marine environments and ongoing oceanographic research programs. Mark Schrope, the company's president, has also written extensively on ocean-related topics for magazines such as Outside and Popular Science.

"All of us involved have a great love for Florida, and in particular the Archie Carr region, so we're very much looking forward to helping teach people more about it, " said Schrope. "We're also pleased to be collaborating with a highly regarded non-profit like CCC, and to have an excuse to spend more time working at the refuge."

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, which operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, established the Ocean Fund in 1996 to support marine conservation organizations in preserving the world's oceans. The mission of the Ocean Fund is to support efforts to restore and maintain a healthy marine environment, minimize the impact of human activity on this environment, and promote awareness of ocean and coastal issues and respect for marine life.

Ocean Fund grants are made to a variety of nonprofit groups and institutions conducting activities directly related to marine conservation. These activities cover research, education and innovative technologies. Nearly $10 million has been awarded to organizations since the fund's inception. 

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Caribbean Conservation Corporation
CCC’s mission is to study and protect sea turtles and their habitats within the Atlantic and Wider Caribbean.  To achieve its mission, CCC uses research, habitat protection, public education, community outreach, and networking and policy initiatives as its basic tools. For more information, please visit www.cccturtle.org.

Open Water Media
Open Water Media is a communications group dedicated to presenting scientific and other topics to general audiences through the production of print, video, and web materials that are accurate, easily understandable, and engaging. For more information, please visit www.openwatermedia.com.

Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program
The Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program was established in 1990 to protect the natural habitats of Brevard County by acquiring environmentally sensitive lands for conservation, passive recreation, and environmental education.  This was made possible by citizens who voted to tax themselves up to $55 million dollars for the acquisition and maintenance of Brevard’s natural areas.To stretch these funds as far as possible, the EEL Program forms partnerships with federal, state, and local agencies that are committed to the protection of natural resources and our long-term quality of life.  For more information, please visit www.eelbrevard.com.