It was a bittersweet day at the Treasure Coast Research Park last week as the Marine & Oceanographic Society (MOA) students did their final field research day for the 2014/15 academic year. The students, a diverse and talented group of Westwood High School students who have been chosen to participate in the program which is housed at Florida Atlantic University’s Oceanographic Institution, have been taking samples, doing monthly tests, and conducting research on site since September The group of two dozen Advanced Placement Environmental Science students has also been enjoying discussions and presentations from world-class research scientists during Lunch and Learn sessions.

 Tracy Griffin, the Marine Science Instructor at Harbor Branch Institute, said the experience had been a really positive and inspirational experience for the students. For the students, the hands on opportunity to conduct research and the chance to hear from scientists working in the field has been invaluable. “This has been an awesome opportunity for the students and for me,” she said. “We are really grateful to TCERDA for this opportunity, and we look forward to a long partnership with the Research Park.”

 Created in 2005 as a partnership between the St. Lucie Board of County Commissioners and the University of Florida, the Treasure Coast Research Park was designed to spotlight and encourage bio-technological and agricultural research. In addition to creating an atmosphere conducive to research and education, the Treasure Coast Education Research Development Authority has created an infrastructure to encourage and support research in the areas of food, energy and water. The collaboration with the St. Lucie County School Board, Florida Atlantic University, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) research facilities on site at the Treasure Coast Research Park just west of Kings Highway in Fort Pierce was a natural evolution of the mission of the facility and its leadership. Indeed, TCERDA’s board of directors is looking forward to the MOA students’ return in the fall, when they will have completed and will present a report on their findings.

To learn more about the Treasure Coast Research Park and all the opportunities for research, development and commerce in St. Lucie County, or to schedule a meeting or presentation about the Treasure Coast Research Park and TCERDA’s initiatives please call  772-467-3107, or visit www.treasurecoastresearchpark.com.

Students Testing water