East Coast Zoological Society began its mission in 1986 to protect wildlife and their habitats
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The East Coast Zoological Society (ECZS) began its mission to protect wildlife and their habitats in 1986, first spearheading the effort with community leaders and thousands of volunteers to build Brevard Zoo, which opened in 1994.
More than 16,000 people—from business owners and engineers to tradespeople and retirees—contributed their time and talents to build what is now one of the country’s largest independent Zoos.
ECZS’s future second campus, situated on 14 acres along the shoreline of the Banana River in Port Canaveral, will leverage the beauty and benefits of natural Florida in an indoor/outdoor visitor experience. Brevard Zoo is living proof that bold ideas – shared among a community and paired with action – can create extraordinary results.
Through the Aquarium and Conservation Center, we will:
■ HELP THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON: Fund Restoration and Research Projects (estimated to be $500,000 annually) across the entire length of the lagoon and will become one of the largest funders of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program (IRLNEP) by dedicating a percentage of every paid aquarium admission directly to IRL conservation.
■ EDUCATION: Educate over half a million guests per year on environmental action through reducing ocean plastics, supporting sustainable fishing, and lessening our impact on the lagoon with simple, easy, everyday changes to how we live – becoming more aware of waterway conservation.
■ SCIENCE AND RESEARCH: Facilitate multi-institutional research projects and offer hands-on science-in-action programs to educate visitors on real-time water quality monitoring and management.
■ IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES: Get up close to our aquatic ecosystems through canoe/kayak excursions and hands-on activities that will engage visitors in the thrill of science, adventure, and exploration.
■ ANIMAL WELLNESS: Continue our legacy of best-possible care for our aquatic ambassadors, including the latest veterinary technologies, enrichment, and training, as well as an expansion of facilities for rehabilitation.
■ COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: The Aquarium Coastal Conservation Center will become a place for coordinating and facilitating restoration, research and education efforts across the region.
■ REHABILITATION SERVICES: An expanded facility will allow us to rehab and release more of these animals, such as sea turtles and manatees, needing critical care with new treatment centers visible to the public and closer to the ocean.
■ ATTRACT VALUABLE HUMAN CAPITAL: We are literally the world’s launching pad to space, and we need to protect our quality of life and unique waterways to attract the next generation of engineers and inventors.
“The Aquarium Project is one of the only projects proposed for the Indian River Lagoon that will be truly transformational. Building species recovery and habitat restoration capacity is an essential precursor to implementing the full-scale restoration work needed to recover this estuary of national significance,” said Duane De Freese, Ph.D., Executive Director, Indian River Lagoon Council and Indian River Lagoon National Estuary.
Multiplying Economic Impact
By maintaining healthy waterways, we sustain our recreational lifestyle, protect property values, and safeguard tourism. In addition to Brevard Zoo, the second campus will attract and retain a high-talent, high-wage workforce to the East Coast of Florida. The Aquarium and Conservation Center will also allow us to build additional research and innovation partnerships in the region.
■ The Brevard Zoo features more than 460,000 guest visits each year, contributing $65 million in annual economic impact and supporting 875 jobs in the region.
■ The Aquarium will have more than 525,000 guest visits each year, contributing more than $85 million in annual economic impact and supporting 937 jobs in the region.
Commit to the Future Help Us Grow: This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a world-class Aquarium and Conservation Center on the East Coast of Florida that will further engage the region and serve as a second campus for estuary restoration , stewardship and conservation.
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