The Citrus County Marine Science Station, located in Citrus County Florida, is an exceptional resource for area’s youth. Since 1967, the Citrus County School Board has operated the Marine Science Station (MSS) as an educational center for marine and environmental sciences. During the academic year, over 2,000 students from K-12 schools participate. The station offers hands-on educational experiences.
About the Program
The programs are no charge to schools, teachers, students and parents. The MSS faculty has extensive working knowledge of the natural history and ecology of coastal Citrus County and the Gulf of Mexico. The Marine Science Station staff also has decades of combined safe boating experience on local waterways. Each of the MSS faculty possesses a Florida Marine Science Educators Association/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FMSEA/FWC) Aquatic Species Collecting Certificate. This certifications allows them to harvest marine and freshwater organisms for aquatic science educational purposes.
It is unknown how many young lives this unique facility in Citrus County has influenced over these many years. It is however, a safe bet, to guess that hundreds have found careers in marine or environmental fields. Thousands have come away with an appreciation, respect and an enduring awareness of protecting our environment.
Berry L. Cannon Memorial Aquarium
The Marine Science Station is in the process of refurbishing and upgrading the Berry L. Cannon Memorial Aquarium. The aquarium was dedicated in 1970 to the memory of Berry L. Cannon. Berry was a civilian aquanaut who died during a dive on the U.S. Navy SEALAB #3. The Citrus County School Board recently completed physical renovations of the building. Even so, much more still needs to be done.
Currently, the staff is pursuing grants and fundraising opportunities to obtain the resources necessary to outfit the aquarium. Staff wants to equip the station with interactive exhibits and murals coupled with living aquaria. In addition to interactive displays to showcase marine environments to visiting students.
Since not every visiting student will encounter every coastal environment during a Marine Science Station field trip, the ability to access and fully utilize the aquarium will allow students to visually and with hands-on interact with every ecosystem found along the Gulf coast of Citrus County.
Looking Towards the Future for the Marine Science Station
It is not clear at this time if the MSS is accepting individual donations to complete the aquarium. However, if one is in a position to contribute to this worthy cause, please do. Contact the Citrus County School Board or the Marine Science Station. It is an investment, not only in our young people, but also an investment in the future of Citrus County’s environment.