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Dolphin Discoveries Fund

For more than 20 years, the Foundation has incorporated a unique mix of scientific research, outreach, educational and cultural programming, led by its flagship dolphin conservation project.

Recognizing that “seeing leads to doing,” the Foundation has, for the past three years, provided dolphin watch tours, exploring the coastal waters along Palm Beach and Martin counties, as well as the Intracoastal Waterway. Authentic, fun, engaging and educational, these personalized wind-in-your-hair tours create memorable and transformative experiences. Beyond local residents, men, women, and children from around the world include these tours in their vacation travels. They leave the tour with a new sense of individual responsibility to preserve our marine environment, not just for the sake of dolphins and other marine life, but for the survival of our civilization.

Presently, these tours are constricted by the size of the boat and the limited hours it is available to TARAS. The Foundation wants to increase its capacity to educate and involve the public in its research. Obtaining a larger version of the rigid inflatable boat we are currently using would help accomplish those goals. The larger vessel will allow Taras to:

  1. Strengthen our impact by expanding our dolphin tours to six days a week and increasing capacity to 20 seats so we can accommodate larger business and private groups.
  2. Increase the frequency and lengths of our research and monitoring surveys.
  3. Increase the production of educational videos aimed at instilling a desire for marine preservation and allow us to distribute the videos to schools and community groups free of charge.
  4. Expand the number of free dolphin tours for low-income, or otherwise challenged, children and families who would otherwise be deprived of this first-hand experience. This will be done in partnership with other nonprofits such as the Make a Wish Foundation, with whom we already work.
  5. Reduce or eliminate the need for additional fundraising to sustain the organization; thereby keeping the focus strictly on marine research, environmental preservation and education.
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Protect Wild Dolphins

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Prompted by rising concerns about the well-being of dolphins along our shores, the Foundation launched the Palm Beach Dolphin Project in 2003. Working under National Marine Fisheries Service permits, the Palm Beach Dolphin Project is the flagship conservation research program of the Foundation. We explore the life history, behavior, habitat use, social lives, and communication of wild dolphins. In addition to gathering critical baseline data, we shed light on how the health of these top predators, and the conditions of the natural resources they depend upon, directly and indirectly, impact our own health and well-being. The project continuously produces new insights into the lives of wild bottlenose and Atlantic spotted dolphins using a variety of research techniques including boat surveys, photo identification, GIS mapping, and employment of drones. As of 2020, we have identified more than 600 bottlenose and spotted dolphins, many of which are seen regularly in our coastal waters.

Adopting a dolphin is an easy and effective way to support our research and conservation efforts. It is the perfect gift for yourself or that special someone. It is meaningful and lasting. It helps protect these wonderful, intelligent creatures and the world they live in, and it allows you to follow the life of your dolphin, learn about the community he lives in, the places he travels.

For more information on how to participate as a volunteer, intern or research assistant, and how to join our Ocean Sentinels Club and become a dolphin advocate, contact our Research Director Barbara Brunnick, Ph.D. In his essay Dr. Harzen provides a more detailed rationale of why it is important to study dolphins.

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Stop Ocean Littering

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We use our research to illustrate how ocean litter, especially plastics, threatens marine life and our own health. The vast majority of marine litter consists of plastic polymers found in cigarette butts, plastic bags, fishing gear, and food/beverage containers. Billions of Mermaid spheres, tiny plastic pallets used as raw materials for all sorts of plastics, are found everywhere.

We should all be concerned about marine litter is because it does not only affect marine life, but also fishing, aquaculture, tourism, and our own health. Only a tiny fraction of all plastics ends up on the beaches, most of it stays at sea. In some areas, we find already six times more micro plastics than plankton. Seven out of ten pieces eventually sink to the sea floor where they can suffocate life in the deep.

So help us save dolphins and the sea. For more information contact Dr. Stefan Harzen.

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Meet the Scientist Lecture Series

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This program promotes (1) the pursuit of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and (2) encourages communication between scientists and residents of the communities in which they live and work.

The series is produced in collaboration with the Jupiter Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy (JERFSA), a four-year academic program focusing on ecological principles and processes, environmental awareness, field studies and research, critical thinking and leadership skills.

Each season runs from October through April, with all events held at the Jupiter High School auditorium from 7 to 9 pm. Thanks to the support of the Rotary Club Jupiter-Tequesta and the Jupiter Inlet District, all lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Dr. Stefan Harzen.

JERFSA: jerfsapartnership.org/jerfsa
Rotary Club Jupiter-Tequesta: www.jupiterrotary.com
Jupiter Inlet District: jupiterinletdistrict.org

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Ocean of Notes Concert Series

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Science and music are actually closely related. It is the interaction of sounds, tempo, and pitch that creates music, just as facts and knowledge, combined with imagination and conjecture produces new scientific discoveries. And if you listen, you can hear dolphins, whales and a myriad of living things, together with currents and tides, performing a symphony that reverberates throughout the marine environment.

Our concerts are held at local venues, which included in the past the Rinker Room at the Kravis Center, the Borland Center for the Performing Arts, the Atlantic Theater, and the Performing Arts Academy of Jupiter.

Performers included blues slide guitar genius Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings, guitar virtuoso Richard Gilewitz, Grammy nominated instrumentalist Tim May, a master on guitar, banjo and mandolin, Gretchen Priest-May, an amazing fiddle player of equal caliber, violinist, composer and former member of the Australian folk rock group The Sundowners Mark Russell, songwriter Gove Scrivenor, and Bert Lams, member of the world famous California Guitar Trio.

For more details or if you are interested in becoming a sponsor please contact Dr. Stefan Harzen.

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Drones and Dolphins

When most people think of drones, they may think of Amazon’s announcement to deliver their packages with drones, or, on the darker side, the use of these remote controlled vehicles (RUVs) in the military. Some may have seen one of their neighbors flying a drone for fun, others may have privacy concerns. What all of the vehicles have in common is that they are either controlled by a ‘pilot’ somewhere on the ground, or a preset flight program.

As it turns out, aerial drones are now also being used in various scientific exploits, including conservation research of whales and dolphins. Following some experimentation, we are in the process of combining a drone-based data collection process with artificial intelligence to count and identify dolphins in real time. And because dolphins spent most of their time below the surface, we are also experimenting with an underwater ROV so we can expand our observations into the underwater world and thus improve our understanding of how dolphins live their lives and what we can do to ensure they continue to around for future generations.

For more information contact Benoit Duverneuil.[/paragraph]

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