Mote honors ocean of support

This year, Mote Marine Laboratory is celebrating its 60-year history as an independent, non-profit “home grown” marine research institution with extensive expertise in conducting ocean science around the world.

Mote celebrated its diamond anniversary with Oceanic Evening – its signature annual fundraising event – last Saturday, at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.

Oceanic Evening drew 445 ocean supporters for an elegant night all about giving back to the sea. The event benefited the world-class marine science, education and outreach that make Mote a leader in marine research and conservation locally and internationally.

Guests enjoyed live music performed by the De Leon Orchestra and a gourmet meal featuring locally harvested lionfish – an invasive species Mote encourages the public to consume to benefit the oceans.

Mote’s 60th Anniversary Chair Judy Graham, a MoteTrustee and Board Chairman Emeritus, who has given her time, energy and support to Mote for more than 30 years, welcomed guests after a cocktail hour where guests met Mote scientists and Trustees.

“It has been a pleasure to be associated with Mote for many years and to understand the truly phenomenal scientific advancements put forth by this great institution,” Graham said.

Graham introduced Lowe Morrison, Chair of Mote’s Board of Trustees who spoke about his history with the organization and introduced Mote President and CEO Dr. Michael P. Crosby who announced the progress of Mote’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, Oceans of Opportunity, which invites the public to help Mote raise $50 million to support the world-class research at Mote. Crosby announced that the community has already helped Moteraise over $38 million toward that goal.

“Through Oceans of Opportunity, Mote aims to advance the impacts of its marine research, recruit and nurture next-generation scientists, and expand its local and global research enterprise,” Crosby said. “The Lab has already achieved much over its 60-year history. We served as one of the first ecological responders to the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil blowout, we’ve launched fisheries stock enhancement initiatives for snook and scallops in Sarasota Bay, we’ve developed innovative science methods to be able to restore one thousand acres of coral reefs in the Florida Keys, we’ve help enhance ocean literacy in millions of visitors, and we’ve served our oceans and our communities in countless other ways. We would not exist without the support, 60 years of incredible support, from our local community.”

Crosby introduced the Mote Leadership Circle, a group of community members who understand the urgent threats facing the oceans and are providing critical financial support of $1 million or more to the Oceans of Opportunity campaign to help address these problems.

Mote Marine Laboratory offers a special thank you to the members of the Mote Leadership Circle, including two donors who wish to remain anonymous and:

• Carol and Barney Barnett

• James D. and Pati Ericson

• Elizabeth Moore

• Robert and Anne Essner

• Maurice and Carolyn Cunniffe

Leaders like Elizabeth Moore, an experienced diver, philanthropist and ocean conservation advocate, are helping Mote reach its goals as outlined in its 2020 Vision & Strategic Plan – the “blueprint” guiding the growth of Mote research and education.

“The oceans are among our most important resources for life on earth, yet they are facing serious threats that may have detrimental impacts on our future and our children’s future,” Moore said. “I felt compelled to give to Mote’s new laboratory in Summerland Key, which houses critical research that will dramatically impact marine conservation and sustainable use of our oceans. It is our responsibility to help the next generation understand the important connections we have with the marine environment and do what we can to give back to the oceans, which have given so much to us.”

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