Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.
Chris Desmond is Founder and Director of the 10,000 Islands Project. A USCG Master Captain, he has spent the past 10 years on the waters of Southwest Florida.
Rocky Beaudry is owner/operator of Sea Excursions, Inc. and has unwritten the Project.
Kent Morse is Naturalist, Outdoor Photographer and manages all photo identification for the Project. Kent is vital to the Project.
Cindy Hackney is a Naturalist and serves as Survey Team Leader on our expeditions.
Both Kent and Cindy are college graduates and are Certified Interpretive Guides through University of Florida’s Master Naturalist Program.
What is the origin of your innovation? Tell your story.
The origin for the Project began in early 2005. Mr. Desmond has had a great admiration and love for the dolphin his entire life, particularly since his water work in SW Florida. His experience with both tourists and locals confirmed that they shared this view, but knew little about them. He also determine that no research was being done on dolphins in SW Florida to determine the health of stock in light of the effects of the rapid growth of people in the area.
Over the next 12 months, he made contact with a number of dolphin research organizations determining 1.) survey work is/can be accomplished using “citizen scientists” and 2.) it best to secure private underwritings for the Project that would be supported by tourists paying for the experience.
Designing the Project around the approach developed by MOTE’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program to ensure high standards would be in place, he then approached Rocky Beaudy, owner/operator of Sea Excursions Inc. to underwrite the Project for five years. These conversations concluded with Mr. Rocky Beaudry enhancing the Expeditions by including other elements to the trips which he knew tourists would also be interested in, i.e. a Naturalist, shelling and observing/explaining the area we travel in.
We then determine to use digital photography from the start and have digital printers on the boat so that dolphins could be immediately identified from our catalogs. This was a major advancement over other dolphin research projects. The use of digital photography also allowed for easy input into our master computer photo catalog.
Sea Excursions owes a 33’ powered catamaran that had been used for more generic tours. It was renamed the Dolphin Explorer and now serves as the platform for our survey work. It has proven to be an excellent vessel for the work and acts as the “beta” vessel in testing approach and equipment.
We then spent four months, October 2005 through January 2006, perfecting our photographic techniques, data recording and photo analysis and refined the process to accommodate passengers.
The Project was launched on February 1, 2006.
Please write an overview of your project. This text will appear when people scroll over the icon for your entry on the Google map located on the competition homepage.
The 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project brings tourists and locals together in both ‘hands-on” study of local coastal bottlenose dolphins while learning how to care, preserve and protect these magnificent mammals. The Project is the only on-going study of wild dolphins in the area and, perhaps, the only daily year-round study of wild dolphins involving the paying general public as “citizen scientists” in the United States. Tourist /local participation in our work results in valuable research data that is provided to resource managers, universities and other dolphin research organizations.
While searching for bottlenose dolphins, our three hour expeditions brings us into backwater estuaries, river and bays providing a broad array of other marine life and habitat. Sightings of manatee, sea turtles, bald eagles, osprey and many different kinds of wading birds are not uncommon. How all this fits together with the habitat is explained
by our Naturalists