FPL’s American crocodile conservation project will be featured in The Conservation Action Center, an interactive exhibit with a focus on local and global conservation that is set to open in January 2021
Through its charitable arm, the NextEra Energy Foundation, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) grants Zoo Miami Foundation (ZMF) $300,000 for The Conservation Action Center at Zoo Miami. The center will be an immersive, interactive exhibition experience that introduces guests to conservation stories, both globally and locally, when it opens on January 16-17, 2021. FPL’s local conservation work with the American crocodile will be featured as part of the exhibit.
FPL’s long history in helping the threatened American crocodile will be highlighted through “Florida: Conservation in Your Backyard Presented by FPL.” In the 1970s, FPL built a 5,900-acre cooling canal system for the nuclear generating units at the Turkey Point Clean Energy Center in Homestead, FL that provides enough energy to power more than 1 million homes. In 1979, the site was designated as a critical habitat for the American crocodiles by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The cooling canals provide an optimum nesting, foraging, breeding and basking habitat for crocodiles. This is one of three primary nesting populations for the American crocodile in the U.S.
In the 1980s, FPL started a management program at Turkey Point to benefit the crocodile in conjunction with state and federal conservation agencies. FPL has created nesting habitat and conducts surveys to document the population, activity, and growth and survival of the crocodiles. In addition, FPL constructs ponds to provide sanctuary for hatchlings that are released in target areas to increase survival rates. In 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the crocodile’s status improvement from endangered to threatened.
“Zoo Miami Foundation is grateful to FPL for their generosity, partnership and alignment in our local and global conservation efforts. FPL has truly helped the crocodile rebound from the brink of extinction in the U.S. Together we understand the importance of taking care of our planet and acting on it,” said Bill Moore, ZMF President & CEO.
“Zoo Miami is a long-standing partner and does a tremendous job highlighting the critically important conservation work happening in our backyard to protect native Florida wildlife,” said Mike Sole, vice president of Environmental Services for FPL. “Environmental stewardship is ingrained in our culture at FPL and has been a driving force in our conservation work over the decades to protect the American crocodile population at our Turkey Point Clean Energy Center. We are grateful for the opportunity to support Zoo Miami’s new Conservation Action Center which will tell the story of our crocodile conservation work as well as the work of many others to protect native species.”
In the new, indoor Conservation Action Center, guests will be able to learn what they have in common with a polar bear and crawl through a larger than life python while learning about the impacts of invasive species. Visitors will see how fast they can scoop the “poop” into compost bins and whack out environmental threats in Habitat Whack-A-Mole. They will touch a “robo-frog” and see how they help save frogs in the Amazon! They’ll explore the I-spy house to see how their everyday actions at home impact their ecosystem and experience how environments come to life as they pledge to take action on behalf of wildlife. Guests will discover their connections to conservation and see how they are helping to save species!