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FAU’s Harbor Branch Receives Challenge Grant from Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation

BOCA RATON, FL (December 2, 2010)  –  The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation  has awarded a $15,000 challenge grant to the  Ocean Discovery Center at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.

“We are very grateful for the support provided by the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation,” said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders.  “Promoting sustainable food sources is of great importance to our nation.  This will be a great way to promote aquaculture education at Harbor Branch.”

            The grant will start a $50,000 campaign to build an educational demonstration project featuring methods and systems for growing aquatic animals and plants, a practice known as aquaculture.  The working exhibit will have separate systems demonstrating how to grow freshwater tilapia, red drum and other marine or estuarine finfish such as Florida pompano and native Florida apple snails.  The exhibit will illustrate distinct purposes of fish farming, including food production and cultivation of marine species for resource conservation and stock enhancement. Beyond providing an interactive and informative visitor experience, the objective of the exhibit is to show the necessity of farming aquatic organisms and the imperative to do so in a sustainable way. The visitor experience will include encouraging participation by visitors to gather and record data.

            “We’re thrilled to be able to assist FAU’s Ocean Discovery Center with this $15,000 grant from The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation,” said Frank Newman, regional president for Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast. “The aquaculture exhibit will be a popular educational component at the Ocean Discovery Center.  We’re pleased to provide the funds needed to kick start and support the fundraising campaign.”

            “This is a tremendous first gift and gets our fundraising effort underway.  Having a public demonstration project is great for area residents and adds to the area’s tourism appeal,” said Jim Masterson, Ph.D., director of Harbor Branch’s Ocean Discovery Center.

            Gifts for the project can be sent to the Ocean Discovery Center, 5600 US 1N, Ft. Pierce, FL  34946 and made payable to ODC-FAUF.  For more information, call 772-242-2417.  The Ocean Discovery Center is open to the public as a part of Harbor Branch educational outreach programs.  Daily hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

            The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation is a private foundation that provides grants to eligible 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations to support four primary focus areas:  education, community development, health and human services, and arts and culture.  The mission of the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation is to build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. In 2008, the Foundation funded more than $6 million in grants to Florida nonprofit organizations.

- FAU -

About Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute:

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University is a research institute dedicated to exploration, innovation, conservation and education related to the oceans.  Harbor Branch was founded in 1971 as a private non-profit organization. In December 2007, Harbor Branch joined Florida Atlantic University. The institute specializes in ocean engineering, at-sea operations, drug discovery and biotechnology from the oceans, coastal ecology and conservation, marine mammal research and conservation, aquaculture, and marine education. For more information, visit

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. For more information, visit

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