For the past two years, the Everglades Foundation’s Wetland Ecologist Dr. Stephen Davis has been working with staff at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami to develop materials for the new facility slated to open in 2016. The new science museum will encompass four acres of Museum Park in downtown Miami with a total of 250,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor exhibition space. In its center will be the Living Core aquarium, a three-story structure that will showcase diverse habitats and species from south Florida. Among these will be a feature exhibition titled The River of Grass, an experience for small children and their caregivers that will focus on the key habitats and iconic species of the Everglades.
Working with Sean Duran, the museum’s VP of Exhibitions and Design, and Jennifer Santer, VP of Programs and Content Development, Dr. Davis has been developing materials for children and adults related to the Everglades ecosystem and its restoration. Storybooks on key species such as the American alligator and Florida panther describe the habitats in which they reside, the ecological role these top predators play in the Everglades, the threats to their continued existence, and the importance of wetland restoration in providing environmental essential to their survival. Said Sean, “Steve has brought to the process his very broad understanding of the ecology and the necessary engineering that’s vital to saving the Everglades; we couldn’t be more appreciative of his contributions.”
Web-based content for adults will provide future museum visitors with a richer understanding of what Everglades restoration means, how all our environments in south Florida are inter-connected, and how our economy is tied to the health of our environment. Dr. Davis has also provided extensive technical input on the development of visual displays, infographics and animations—ensuring that the essential elements of the ecosystem are accurately portrayed while still maintaining a level of fun and intrigue for museum visitors. “Working with Sean and Jennifer has been quite a rewarding experience for me” said Davis. “Their passion, perspective and creativity always leave me with new ways to think and communicate about the Everglades.”
Recently, Eric Eikenberg, Everglades Foundation CEO, and Dr. Davis participated in a hard hat tour of the new facility with Dr. Eldredge “Biff” Bermingham—Chief Scientist of the museum. Mr. Eikenberg was impressed with the plans for the new facility and progress made to date. “When completed, this museum will be a portal for south Florida families and visitors from outside the region to see the beauty and understand the value of the Everglades ecosystem.” “We are proud to partner with the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science and look forward to further collaboration in educating the next generation about the need to protect and restore this vital piece of south Florida.”