Now Open: Marine Environmental Education Center

NSU and Broward County Carpenter House Marine Environmental Education CenterAnnouncement Video | News Video | Plan Your Visit | Thanks to a partnership between NSU and Broward County Parks and Recreation, the Marine Environmental Education Center (MEEC) was born. The facility is located on the historic grounds of the Carpenter House on Hollywood Beach. The venture builds upon a partnership spanning more than 25 years.  

NSU alumnus and City of Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy was among the guest speakers at the center's opening ceremony.

Although education will be the focus at this new center, a very large draw will be the center’s ability to care for a rehabilitated sea turtle. Captain, a green sea turtle, was hit by a boat in 2010 and entered rehabilitation in Georgia. Unfortunately, after years in rehab, veterinarians decided that because of a floating issue and partial paralysis to her rear flippers, Captain would never be able to survive in the wild (that’s why she has those attachments at the bottom of her shell – helps with her buoyancy.) Thankfully, the creation of this new center gives one of the many non-releasable sea turtles a “forever home” and a chance to teach younger generations about the importance of caring for the environment.

The Carpenter House was originally built in 1941 by Lieutenant Commander Henry Carpenter Jr., who, along with his wife June, were known for their environmentalism and community service. The Carpenters wanted to sell the property to Broward County for preservation and environmental education. In 2010, renovations of the historic house and accompanying saltwater pool began. Following detailed restorations to the house and the addition of a state-of-the-art filtration system to the swimming pool, the MEEC was set to open at the Carpenter House. The facility will provide outstanding marine education, interactive learning, and research with a focus on endangered sea turtles. This mission will carry on the traditions of the Carpenters and engage the community to learn about their local environment.

For nearly three decades, NSU has also operated the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program patrolling 24 miles of coastline to help protect the nesting areas of three specific species: the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (threatened); the Green Sea Turtle (endangered); and the largest of the three, the Leatherback Sea Turtle (critically endangered). Divided into squads, the NSU team goes to the beach at dawn, from Hillsboro to Hallandale, following the tracks to mark the nests. In successive weeks they monitor progress until the hatchlings have safely found their way back to the sea.

The team also records valuable research data to share with Broward County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and other agencies. If they make it to maturity (~30 years), female sea turtles return year after year to the nesting grounds where they were born. More than two-thirds of U.S. sea turtle nesting occurs in Florida. But sea turtles are now endangered from myriad stressors and causes. Sadly, the Sea Turtle Conservancy reports that only one in 1,000 to 10,000 are expected to make it to adulthood.

The MEEC marks a big step forward in conserving our endangered species through ongoing education. In addition to the beach patrolling, NSU students, faculty and staff can now welcome visitors to learn about our environment and sea turtles on a year-round basis.

You can help save sea turtles by keeping beaches clean, avoiding unnecessary lighting at night, reporting sick or injured sea turtles by calling 954-328-0580, and by supporting our programs. If you are interested in marine biology or conservation education, please visit to learn more about undergraduate, masters and doctoral degree programs at NSU.

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