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New Additions to Florida Keys Eco Experiences Trail Digital Pass

Green Scene
This Green Scene story spotlights an environmentally focused attraction, event, person or place that enriches the Florida Keys

May 2024: Ahead of World Oceans Day on 8 June, fresh additions to the Florida Keys Eco-Experience Trail pass are helping visitors to connect with, and protect, the natural environment of the 125-mile-long island chain.

The free, mobile-exclusive digital pass enables travellers to find and check in at local businesses while exploring the Keys’ environment and wildlife. Launched in January and created by the Florida Keys Tourism Council and technology company Bandwango, the Eco-Experience Trail pass includes more than 60 geo-tagged, bookable activities and sustainability initiatives.  After accessing the pass, users can explore state parks and nature tours, wildlife centres and refuges as well as eco-adventures in the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which protects the continental United States’ only living barrier coral reef.

Latest additions include:

Mellow Ventures, an eco-tour operator offering expeditions into the backcountry off Key West from sunrise to sunset. From visiting coral gardens to paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkelling the pristine waters, the Mellow Ventures mission is to enable visitors and locals a chance to reconnect with a natural rhythm whilst having a once in a lifetime experience.

Seacamp Association, offering year-round marine science education programmes and guided kayak tours. Since 1966, Seacamp has opened up the world of marine science exploration, SCUBA diving, sailing, and windsurfing to youth from around the world.

Sol Chaser Charters, providing the opportunity to snorkel, visit a secluded sandbar and soak in a famous Key West sunset. Hourly, half day, and full day trips are available for up to six people.

Key West Aquarium showcases the wonders of the Florida Keys’ marine environment. With exhibits dedicated to the different habitats, marine organisms and industries that characterise the Florida Keys, the aquarium aims to inspire guests to help protect the natural world.

For full details and to download the Eco-Experience Trail pass, visit fla-keys.com/experience.

Other ways for visitors to get involved include:

  • Tour the Mote Marine Florida Keys facilities - public tours are free to join at each of the three campuses in the Keys: Mote's Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration (its main campus in the Florida Keys, located on Summerland Key); Mote's Islamorada Coral Nursery; and the Key Largo Coral Nursery.
  • Play a vital part in repairing the Florida Reef - join a Slice of Paradise microfragmentation experience, offered at Mote Marine Laboratory’s Key Largo Coral Nursery at Reefhouse Resort & Marina and Mote's Islamorada Coral Nursery, located on the property of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina. Using a Mote-pioneered technique, participants learn how to cut coral using a small jewellery diamond-bladed saw, creating small fragments. These fragments are then mounted on ceramic pedestals that are returned to grow in the land-based nursery until they are the perfect size to be taken to the ocean and ‘outplanted’ on the coral reef.
  • Go out with Care in Islamorada or SCUBAPRO in Key Largo and Summerland Key on a coral restoration dive as a citizen scientist.
  • In the Lower Keys on Summerland Key, the Plant a Million Corals Foundation and the Key West–based Coastlove are collaborating to grow mangroves at the foundation’s Summerland Farms. Prescheduled small groups can tour the facility to learn about global coral restoration, and the Florida Keys Mangrove Nursery, where mangrove propagules are potted and raised for planting programmes.

Lower Keys Backcountry Photo Credit: Florida Keys News Bureau

Lower Keys Backcountry Photo Credit: Florida Keys News Bureau

This article was updated on May 23, 2024 at 7:23 AM