1. Sound Environmental Stewardship For Our Waterways and Resources
2. Education and Funding For Marine Life Protection & Rescue
Seven Kings Holdings, Inc. serves as one of Florida's most environmentally responsible and economically sustainable real estate development and operating companies, creating and maintaining projects meeting the needs of the community, and providing good stewardship of the land and water resources of the state. Seven Kings developed and sold one of the best-known and well-respected marina operating brands (Loggerhead Marinas) in the Southeast with premier locations on the East and Gulf coasts of Florida. During this development, the company pursued the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Clean Marina designation for all marina facilities, ensuring that water quality will be maintained for new generations to come. All 12 Loggerhead Marina-branded locations earned the Clean Marina designation.
Seven Kings has a commitment to the ecosystem, actively promoting sound environmental stewardship and funding marine life protection and rescue. As a part of that commitment, Seven Kings formed a long-term association with Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, Florida, and pledged a major donor gift, making possible an expansion of this world-renowned turtle research and rescue facility to include a 13,000 square foot home with outdoor exhibits on 1 1/2 acres in Juno Beach. The Loggerhead Marinelife Center is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, protection, and preservation of marine resources, especially the loggerhead, leatherback, and green sea turtles.
About Loggerhead Marine Life Center
Loggerhead Marinelife Center is located 200 yards from the Atlantic Ocean in Loggerhead Park at 14200 U.S. Hwy. 1, Juno Beach, Florida. The education center and rehabilitation facility for sea turtles and other marine creatures currently includes aquariums, exhibits, a sea turtle hospital, turtle walks, and sea turtle monitoring, along 5.5 miles of the Juno-Jupiter Beach. A world-renowned leatherback sea turtle research program is run from Loggerhead Marinelife Center. The research and rescue program monitors nesting activity, tags animals, and satellite tracks large sea turtles.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a nonprofit education and conservation facility dedicated to the conservation and preservation of marine life, including threatened and endangered sea turtles, and promotes its activities through education, research, and rehabilitation. Loggerhead Marinelife Center was created "to promote conservation of marine life through education, research, and rehabilitation, with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles." The facility began through the dedicated efforts of interested locals, drawing the interest and support of scientific and environmental communities and volunteers, and is now widely known as one of the world's premier marine life research and rescue operations.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center's 13,000 square foot building, the result of a major donor gift by Seven Kings Holdings, Inc., houses expanded research and rescue operations, exhibits, and teaching spaces, and is open to the public, while fostering and promoting researchers from scientific communities from around the world.
A full-sized bronze artist's depiction of the adult loggerhead, accurate in every detail and commissioned by Seven Kings, is featured at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, as well as at all 12 Loggerhead Marina facilities. The commissioned art serves to draw attention to the cause of endangered marine life and foster donations to the research and rescue operations of Loggerhead Marinelife Center.
Sea turtle species treated at Loggerhead Marinelife Center include leatherback, green/black, hawksbill, Kemp's Ridley, and Loggerhead. Loggerhead turtles are treated from hatchlings - juveniles to adults - with conditions arising from buoyancy problems, cold stunning, capture in nets and longlines, cranial and other trauma, ingesting foreign bodies such as hooks and plastic debris mistaken for jellyfish, and contamination from oil/tar pollution.
In the summer, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center rescues stranded turtles, including "wrong-way" hatchlings distracted by an overabundance of light spilling from inland, causing them to mistakenly head away from the sea.
As part of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center mandate, research projects are conducted each year by staff. One such research project began in 2001 in response to the increase in leatherback nesting on Juno Beach. The project identified female leatherbacks using this beach, and studied the success of their nests. Leatherbacks are the most endangered species nesting on Juno Beach, and information gathered about their life history and nesting habits contributes to their recovery in U.S. waters.
Sea turtle nesting is monitored from March 1 until October 31, along 5.5 miles of beach.
The Loggerhead Marinelife Center has reef tanks with a variety of reef fish, and will soon have touch tanks with live conchs and hermit crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers, shrimp, and other crabs.
Seven Kings helps to inform and protect marine life resources through its ongoing educational efforts. To continue the cause, all Loggerhead Marinas provide informational brochures to explain about the plight of endangered sea life and promote rescue and rehabilitative funding.
About the Newest Expansion to the Loggerhead Marine Life Center
Groundbreaking for the $14 million expansion that will more than double the size of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center is planned for the end of 2017.
Bigger hospital and research facilities, more classrooms, an auditorium, a Discovery Zone interactive exhibit hall and an amphitheater with a wall-to-ceiling ocean reef tank are planned. There will be an outdoor cafe and a hall with flexible space for public and private events.
The opening is scheduled for the fall of 2020.
"This will put LMC on the map globally as a leader in sea turtle education, research and conservation," said Lynne Wells, LMC's capital campaign director.
The expansion is needed to meet the booming increase in visitors to the center, which drew about 70,000 people when LMC opened in 2007. About 300,000 visitors came last year. About 60 percent of those visitors are from outside of Palm Beach County.
The existing 13,000 square foot Loggerhead Marinelife Center building is built on land adjacent to the original site at Loggerhead Park in Juno Beach. Programs here bring national and local scientific researchers to the facility and extend the wildlife conservation and research program benefits worldwide. Juno Beach is located between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean where the beaches are among the densest areas in the western hemisphere for nesting endangered loggerhead sea turtles.
This facility is designed and built in an indigenous Florida architectural vernacular, featuring tin roofs, overhangs, breezeways, decks, and loggias to make natural use of the Florida climate and beachfront location. The structures are planned and constructed according to sustainable "Green" building practices. Green building is a term coined by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), an organization formed to foster economically sound, responsible, and healthy building practices.
The Green Building Council sponsors a LEED certification program that can be sought for design professionals and the buildings themselves. The LEED certification program is a national, consensus-based, market-driven building rating system designed to accelerate the development and implementation of green building practices, and is a leading-edge system for designing, constructing, and certifying the world's greenest and best buildings.
The program includes materials, building systems, and methods of construction used in the building, and governs all aspects of the building process, including how water is used at the site and waste management during and after construction. Other regulatory features include responsible use of energy resources, applications for heating and cooling systems, and the use of natural, renewable building materials. Members support sustainable building practices and organizations that support and foster them, including working with key governmental and resource agencies toward transforming the building industry.
Located on 1 1/2 acres in the oceanfront Loggerhead Park on U.S. Hwy. 1 in Juno Beach, the facility has plenty of parking and great access from either U.S. 1 or from inside the park. The easy access makes the facility a highly desirable destination for families, schools, and other visitors throughout the year.
Outdoor Sea Turtle Recovery Area
The goal for each sea turtle receiving treatment is release back to the ocean. Sea turtles are cared for in this outdoor tank area while undergoing rehabilitation.
SEA TURTLE HEALTH CENTER
The Veterinary Center allows Loggerhead Marinelife Center to provide immediate on-site medical, surgical and diagnostic treatments to sea turtles in this indoor facility. Students of marine biology and researchers have the ability to learn, working side by side with the Loggerhead Marinelife Center veterinarians. Data collected through the Veterinary Center procedures provide the basis for multiple research projects.
Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as scientists from all over the world come to the Center to work on research projects addressing sea turtle behavior and ecology, veterinary care and nesting beaches. The new research lab will expand opportunities for cooperative research projects with other marine science institutions, colleges and universities.
Upon entering Loggerhead Marinelife Center, all visitors will immediately be surrounded by fascinating exhibits. The Welcome Center features a reception area and provides visitors with access to the Gift Shop, Museum, and verandas overlooking the courtyards and touch tank areas. The main entry is a planned hub of activity.
From books to jewelry to pieces of art, the gift shop is the place for unique gift purchases related to Florida's natural history, the coastal environment and marine life. The Loggerhead Marinelife Center gift Shop is a favorite stop for visitors.
OCEAN WATER FILTRATION
Sand filtered ocean water is used in the sea turtle recovery tanks. As a result, turtles are able to recuperate without the additional stress of adapting to an unfamiliar water environment.
A wonderful outdoor area complete with a children's touch tank, the courtyard can accommodate 300-400 people and may be used by all visitors and children. The courtyard serves as an especially attractive area for outdoor events and exhibits.
One of the most effective teaching tools, the touch tank features fish, sponges and other live marine creatures for children to touch and watch. The touch tank is a popular educational draw, providing an unforgettable hands-on experience.
This stand-alone building functions as both a workshop and provides storage for up to five All Terrain Vehicles, necessary for turtle nesting counts and other scientific use.
SEA TURTLES AT RISK
Florida is home to five species of endangered turtles, the Hawksbill Turtle, Kemp's Ridley, Loggerhead Turtle, Leatherback Turtle and Green Turtle and over 90% of all sea turtle nesting in the continental United States takes place on Florida beaches. Sea turtle conservationists use sophisticated methods to rescue and rehabilitate stranded turtles, which are turtles that have been injured or entangled in nets or debris, and over half (54%) of all stranded turtles are Loggerheads.
What threatens sea turtle survival? Ingesting Plastic litter and debris or becoming entangled in debris causes the death or stranding of thousands of sea turtles each year. Turtles become sick or die from eating plastic bags and balloons floating in the water, which sea turtles mistake for one of their main food sources, jellyfish. Incidental capture of sea turtles in the nets of the commercial fishing industry is also an important threat to survival.
Artificial Lighting can disturb nesting sea turtles as they seek dark, quiet beaches to lay their eggs. Lights from buildings along the beach distract and confuse the females as well as the new hatchlings, where they can be drawn towards the artificial light source instead of the natural light shining on the water. Walls, sandbags and barriers called coastal armoring can prevent the 100 to 400 pound turtles from reaching their nesting grounds. Beach re-nourishment programs can destroy or delay nesting, and pollution of our waterways from marine fuels and fertilizer runoff can significantly impact species survival. Turtles nest along the Florida coast from March to October, many swimming as many as 2,000 miles to reach their nesting grounds. The more than 100 eggs deposited in a turtle nest will hatch in about 60 days if undisturbed, and the hatchlings will have to reach the water before sun and predators take their toll.
Comments from Seven Kings Holdings, Inc. and the Loggerhead Marine Life Center
"It is our pleasure to contribute to an organization that is instrumental in the future of Florida," said Raymond E. Graziotto, president and COO of Seven Kings Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Loggerhead Marina. "Those of us with a passion for clean water and protecting our marine habitat, greatly appreciate the dedicated efforts of Loggerhead Marinelife Center."
Mr. Graziotto continued, "Our investment in the programs and facilities of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach clearly demonstrate our commitment to the environment and waterways of Florida. Marine wildlife and its protection matter to us. Their health and well-being is a focus and priority for our entire development team."
J.C. Solomon II, chairman and CEO of Seven Kings Holdings, Inc. agreed, "We are extremely pleased to have participated in this definitive agreement to invest in the expansion of the center. The Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a leading player in the growing environmental clean air and water movement, in serving the clinical and research market, as well as reaching and educating the public. This new center caters to marine biologic and biotechnology clients and partners, including those from major universities and research centers, and has the potential for generating strong recurring revenues that will go directly back into conservation."
Continuing, Mr. Solomon said, "This growth enables us as partners with Loggerhead Marinelife Center to further widen the range of services to our scientific and environmental community, and diversify our rescue and research programs across multiple strong approaches."
Maintaining Florida's Fragile Ecosystems
Florida is home to over 900,000 registered boaters and an additional estimated 400,000 boats visit our waters annually. Clean water is essential to the multibillion-dollar marine industry and critical for protecting sensitive habitats, manatees, sea turtles, and other aquatic wildlife. The effect of year-round boating activities, contribute to constant and growing pressure on Florida's fragile aquatic ecosystem. Under the Loggerhead Marina brand, the Company actively supports the Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Clean Marina designation for all marina facilities, ensuring that water quality will be maintained for new generations to come.
The Clean Marina designation recognizes marinas that are operating their facility in an environmentally conscientious manner, and helps assure that Florida's waterways remain pristine and safe for future generations. All 12 Loggerhead Marina facilities maintain the Clean Marina designation.