Remembering Mote’s “Shark Lady”: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Eugenie Clark

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Newsday@Mote: 3-5-15
Remembering Mote’s “Shark Lady”:
The Life and Legacy of Dr. Eugenie Clark

Dr. Eugenie Clark — the famous “Shark Lady” who founded Mote Marine Laboratory in Southwest Florida — died at age 92 on Feb. 25.

Her extraordinary life as a trailblazing marine scientist and educator is an inspiration to people around the world.

Read Mote’s new feature story about Clark’s life, including her early research and founding of Mote, her many ocean adventures and her final dives at age 92.

Flowers at sea: Clark’s family celebrated her life by placing her ashes, along with flowers, into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, March 3, from aboard Mote’s ship R/V Eugenie Clark.

A public celebration of her life is being planned and details will be announced.
Siesta Key Sand Sculpting Event Raises
$20,000 for Sea Turtles
Top from left: Dr. James Powell, manager of Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program; Dr. Michael P. Crosby, Mote President and CEO; Maria Bankemper, Crystal Classic Festival Chair; Debra Lynn-Schmitz, Siesta Key Chamber Executive Director; and Jim Syprett, Chairman of Siesta Beach Festival, Inc. Bottom: Kristen Mazzarella of Mote checks a sea turtle nest. A rescued sea turtle hatchling recovers at Mote. (Credit: Mote)

The sand-sculpting event that drew thousands to Siesta Key last year has raised $20,000 for the Key’s original beachgoers: sea turtles.

On Thursday, Feb. 26, organizers of the fifth annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition presented their generous donation from the 2014 event to the Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program at Mote Marine Laboratory.

A Mote sand carving at the 2014 Siesta Key Crystal Classic. (Credit Mote)
During the past five years, the event has raised more than $100,000 total for Mote’s sea turtle program.

Mote has coordinated sea turtle conservation along 35 miles of local sea turtle nesting beaches — Longboat Key through Venice — during each day of nesting season, May 1-Oct. 31, for 34 years.

“This wonderful donation will help us continue providing excellent monitoring and protection for sea turtle nests and hatchlings on our beaches during a very busy time,” said Dr. James Powell, manager of Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program. “The number of sea turtle nests on our beaches has been climbing in recent years — this is very fortunate. However it means an increasing demand for the work our team is doing. We are grateful for this generous support from the Crystal Classic.”

The Siesta Key Crystal Classic is a community event overseen by the Siesta Beach Festival Board and organized by a committee led by Festival Chair Maria Bankemper on behalf of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. The event was founded in 2010 through discussions between Master Sand Sculptor and Siesta Key resident Brian Wigelsworth and representatives of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, Mote Marine Laboratory and Visit Sarasota County.

The 2014 Crystal Classic drew 11 teams of Master Sand Sculptors from nations around the world, including Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, Mexico, Philippines and the United Kingdom, along with multiple U.S. states.

“Every year we have produced this fine event, it has grown in a variety of ways, increasing valuable exposure for Siesta Key and Mote while introducing the public to these 10-foot-tall, ephemeral works of sand art,” said Maria Bankemper, Festival Chair and Siesta Key Chamber board member.

“We are very proud to be a part of such a fabulous event and to also have the ability to donate much-needed funds in support of Mote Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program,” said Jim Syprett, Siesta Beach Festival Chairman.
Mote scientists, interns and volunteers are now gearing up for the 2015 sea turtle nesting season, which starts on May 1.

Soon another event on Siesta Key will allow the community to help these endangered and threatened reptiles: Mote’s annual Run for the Turtles on April 4. Click here to learn about the Run and a special youth-focused fundraiser leading up to it. Sign up for the Run via
Deep Sea Lecture on March 9
Mote’s 2015 Special Lecture Series showcases world-famous speakers discussing marine-related topics.

On Monday evening, March 9, Dr. David Gallo will give this year’s final lecture, “Deep Sea — Deep Secrets: Exploring and Understanding the Undersea World.”

Mote offers a special thanks to our Series sponsors, Robert and Jill Williams.

Details for Attendees

Timing: 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 9.
Location: Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Sea Cinema, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL, 34236.
Ticket Price: $12 for Mote members and $15 for non-members. Students, teachers and volunteers without membership can purchase tickets at the member rate with a discount code by contacting [email protected] or calling (941) 388-4441, ext. 348.
Ticket sales at Tickets must be purchased in advance. A limited number of tickets might be available at the door on lecture night, but we cannot guarantee availability. Tickets are non-refundable unless Mote cancels the lecture.
Questions: Please call 941-388-4441, ext. 691 to leave a message for Mote staff, or email [email protected].

Ticket sales close at 3 p.m. on the day of the lecture or when tickets sell out. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., allowing ticket holders to enjoy the main Aquarium exhibits before the lecture at 7:30 p.m. (The Goldstein building with marine mammals and sea turtles will be closed.) Ticket holders will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Party on the Pass for
Mote’s Animal Hospitals

Mote Marine Laboratory is gearing up for a fabulous Party on the Pass: a casual evening of good food, good fun and goodwill supporting Mote’s hospitals for dolphins, whales and sea turtles.

Party on the Pass will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 20 at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway on City Island, Sarasota.

Tickets are $85 per person. To make reservations or sponsor this event, contact Jennifer Wagner at 941-388-4441, ext. 324 or [email protected].

Mote’s animal hospitals have rehabilitated 70 dolphins and whales since 1992 and more than 450 sea turtles since 1995.


Remembering Mote’s “Shark Lady”
Sand Sculpting Event Raises $20,000 for Sea Turtles
Deep Sea Lecture to Wrap Up Mote Series
on March 9
Party on the Pass for Mote’s Animal Hospitals: March 20
Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 research organization based in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations in eastern Sarasota County, Charlotte Harbor and the Florida Keys. Mote has 24 research programs and a variety of initiatives dedicated to today’s research for tomorrow’s oceans with an emphasis on world-class research relevant to conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats and natural resources. Mote’s vision includes positively impacting public policy through science-based outreach and education. Showcasing this research is Mote Aquarium, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. Learn more at

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