Connect & Protect

Five Ways to Honor Earth Day in the Keys

The Florida Keys are putting Earth Day in the spotlight with activities on and around April 22, the globally commemorated “birthday” of the modern environmental movement. Of course, every day is a reason to celebrate the beauty of the planet in the Keys, home to spectacular natural wonders on both land and sea.

By |2024-04-10T11:27:48-04:00April 10, 2024|

Steward of the Keys: Frank Betz Spins Fish Tales

Captain Frank Betz began fishing the Florida Straits in 2005 while working for the Boy Scouts of America at the Sea Base Camp on Summerland Key. Today he shares his passion for fishing the Florida Keys’ blue waters as a guide, offering Folklure Charters fishing trips from Summerland, Big Pine and Key West.

By |2024-03-27T18:01:02-04:00March 27, 2024|

Steward of the Keys: Dan Dawson Dives

Dan Dawson, co-owner with wife Mollie of Key Largo’s Horizon Divers, certified by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as an environmentally responsible Blue Star operator, discovered his passion for diving at an early age. Today, he’s energized by seeing kids and young adults learn about the Keys’ environment and its protection.

By |2024-02-28T10:46:19-05:00February 28, 2024|

Michelle Nicole Lowe: Steward of the Keys Through Art

Michelle Nicole Lowe, one of the Florida Keys’ best-known artists, paints colorfully whimsical and expressive wide-eyed marine life, wild birds and multi-hued flora and fauna. Through her artwork, the fifth-generation Keys resident promotes conservation of the island chain’s natural life — sea turtles, tarpon, herons, indigenous creatures, subtropical florals, mangrove hammocks and more.

By |2024-01-31T16:45:19-05:00January 31, 2024|

Connect to the Environment with New Florida Keys Eco-Experience Trail Pass

There’s a new way to explore the Florida Keys — a way that’s fun, fascinating and focused on nature. Visitors can now discover the island chain’s eco-attractions and environmental offerings by using the free Florida Keys Eco-Experience Trail pass, featuring nearly 50 geo-tagged, bookable activities that encourage connecting with the Keys’ natural world.

By |2024-01-24T16:47:43-05:00January 24, 2024|

Erin Allison: Steward of the Keys’ Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

Erin Allison has been executive director of the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center Inc. since June 2023. Though just 26 years old, she is a dedicated Keys nonprofit leader who’s big on achievable goals. They include broadening the organization’s local outreach through education and by holding public releases of rehabilitated wild birds.

By |2023-12-27T15:23:52-05:00December 27, 2023|

Terry Helmers: Steward of Keys Volunteerism

Terry Helmers is a Florida Keys volunteer extraordinaire. His underwater specialty, as a volunteer and as a NOAA- and national parks-authorized diver, is mooring buoys. The dedicated Helmers has logged about 800 volunteer hours with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and more than 2,300 at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

By |2023-11-29T10:52:19-05:00November 29, 2023|

Sea Creatures Find Care in the Keys

Viewing a sea turtle release, and seeing the rehabilitated creature return to the Florida Keys waters where it belongs, can make you cry. There’s something about watching a turtle slip into its saltwater habitat and swim joyfully away that touches the heart and inspires a powerful sense of oneness with the natural order.

By |2023-11-08T13:42:06-05:00November 8, 2023|

Mill McCleary: Steward of Plastic Free Key West

Mill McCleary, executive director of the Reef Relief organization based in Key West, uses advocacy and organizational skills to create tangible impacts through clean water and healthy ecosystems. He has overseen Reef Relief’s establishment of Key West Marine Park, founding of Coral Camp for Kids, and recent Plastic Free Key West program.

By |2023-11-01T15:03:06-04:00November 1, 2023|

Sue Cooper: Steward of the Lower Keys Backcountry

Sue Cooper, a Florida Keys paddleboard guru and author of “Millionaire in Flip Flips,” is the face of Lazy Dog Adventures — known for its slogan, “We do more in a week than most people do all day.” But don’t be fooled by that slogan; Sue is brimming with business acumen and motivational concepts.

By |2023-10-04T11:52:40-04:00October 4, 2023|
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