The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center: Supporting FAU’s Marine Science Lab for More than 22 years

Florida Atlantic University’s Marine Science Lab at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton received a generous gift from the National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation. The gift primarily supports six graduate students with annual scholarships whose critical research is helping to protect endangered sea turtles and our fragile local marine ecosystems.

“The National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation has been paramount to the success of my research,” said Samantha Trail, Ph.D. student. As a result of the Foundation’s support, Samantha was able to purchase necessary items to complete her experiments, which in turn, enabled her to present her research discoveries at numerous national conferences and publish the findings.

In addition to much-needed scholarships, the gift also supports new lab renovations and significant improvements to the lab’s popular Visitor’s Viewing Gallery – one of Gumbo Limbo’s major attractions. FAU’s Marine Lab graduate students serve as community outreach ambassadors at the gallery.

“I’ve been at the FAU Marine Lab for five years now, and I have had the opportunity to speak to thousands of people from all different backgrounds, ages and places about our research thanks to the visitor’s gallery that has been supported by the Foundation,” said Emily Turla, Ph.D. student. “I pride myself in being able to thoroughly explain the types of research that happen in the lab in a way that anyone can understand, which is extremely important!”

The Visitor’s Gallery is a high-traffic and key educational display designed to build public awareness about the fragility of the sea turtles, South Florida’s ecosystems and the ocean.

The Foundation has supported FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and the Marine Science Lab for 22 years. “Over the years, the Foundation has provided numerous scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students and funded major renovations, as well as costs for graduate students’ research projects,” said Michael Salmon, Ph.D., a research professor in FAU’s Department of Biological Sciences. “They have been incredibly important sponsors of FAU Marine Biology for a very long time.”

Established in 1987, the Foundation has worked tirelessly to carry out its mission: “To provide educational programming, promote public awareness of Florida’s marine ecosystems, and support sea turtle research both in the United States and abroad.”

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is a unique cooperative project of the City of Boca Raton, the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, Florida Atlantic University, and Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards that was founded in 1984. As a beacon for environmental education, research, and conservation, Gumbo Limbo’s 20 acres on the protected barrier island provide refuge to many varieties of plants and animals. Together with FAU faculty and students, they are
working hard to preserve our waterways and their inhabitants, to ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy our natural environment.

To learn more about how Florida Atlantic is committed to conserving our environment, improving the health of our communities and providing scholarships for tomorrow’s scientists and thought leaders through Transcend Tomorrow: The Campaign for Florida Atlantic University, visit

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