Monday, March 9, 2009

March 6 Show Wrap-up: Domestic & International Baseball and Florida Oceanographic

This week Talkin' Tourism host Gary Guertin shared the microphone with a new guest co-host, Ed Griffith, who came dressed for the occasion in a tropical shirt, sunglasses and a cap from the Italian Baseball Team that stayed at his property (Courtyard Marriott by Marriott Hutchinson Island Oceanside/Jensen Beach)for four days.

Those who tuned in for golf-talk may have been confused; unfortunately our scheduled golf expert had a scheduling conflict, but guests Paul Taglieri, general manager of the St. Lucie Mets, and Joseph Patton, director of development for the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, filled the hour with lots of great information

Listeners (and viewers who tuned in for the live video-stream) learned the following:


• Impact of major league spring training at Tradition Field. Many businesses in the area benefit when the Mets are in town, including retail, restaurants and hotels. Once spring training ends, the minor league season begins and runs through September, so it's a full summer of baseball here on the Treasure Coast. Additionally, the fact that the Mets are here, plays to the New York market with regards to advertising and marketing this area of Florida as a tourism destination.

• Baseball entertainment is real family fun, especially in these challenging economic times.

• The World Baseball League was created to promote the sport of baseball globally.

• Many high schools from places as far away as Toms River (NJ), Germantown (PA), St. Albans (Washington D.C.) have been coming to St. Lucie County for Spring training for nearly 26 years. The estimated impact of these "regulars" on the area exceeds 5 million dollars!


• The Florida Oceanographic Society (FOS), which was founded in 1964, is a membership not-for-profit with the expressed mission “to inspire environmental stewardship of Florida’s coastal ecosystems through education and research”. This is accomplished through a multitude of educational programs conducted on the site of the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center as will as outreach speakers programs.

• A key endeavor of FOS at this time is to reduce and hopefully eliminate the discharge of water from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee River and to restore the natural flow into the Everglades.

• The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is the culmination of the vision of Mark Perry Executive Director and early founding directors. The 57 acres that comprise the campus of the Coastal Center has many unique attractions, including the Sting Ray Feeding Tank (the barbs have been removed from the rays…no danger), an incredible experience for children! The Francis Langford Visitors Center (a gift from Ms. Langford in the ‘80s) has many interactive exhibits and also displays the Francis and Ralph Evinrude collection of fish mounts. The Coastal Center also has two walking trails that pass through mangrove forests leading out to the Indian River Lagoon. Host Gary shared some thoughts on the “early years” when some of the directors including Jordan Fields, Glenn Massnick, Gary Guertin and others were carving out the trails with cutlasses. Working out of a trailer, the vision was never lost.

• A relatively new feature of the Coastal Center is the Game Fish Lagoon which has many species of native fish including snook, tarpon, and snapper. One unique resident of the lagoon is a 10 pound mullet, one of the largest mullet ever seen. The Game fish Lagoon effort was spearheaded by none other than Karl Wickstrom, owner/publisher of Florida Sportsman Magazine.

• The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is a major Martin County attraction. Each year approximately 50,000 visitors learn about coastal environments at the center.

• The Florida Oceanographic Center is a prime example of utilizing the Treasure Coast’s natural assets to promote eco-tourism and nature-based tourism. The center also fosters the protection and preservation of our ocean and coastal resources, which from a tourism economic point of view are priceless and irreplaceable.

Last, host Gary Guertin plugged the Big 'O' (Okeechobee) birding event and provided an “Bahamas Up Date:"

• 5th Annual Bahamas Music and Heritage Festival, March 12-14, 2009; George Town, Exuma
• Art on the Island/Seafood Fest, May 22-24,2009: Bimini
Abaco Beach Resort at Boat Harbour, Inaugural Wahoo Championship April 2-4, 2009

To view or download the show, click HERE.
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