Guest Speakers-Real Problems, Real Scientists: 

Billy Causey
Billy Causey gives campers the ins and outs of the National Marine Sanctuaries system.

Billy Causey has dedicated much of his career to preserving the Florida Keys. Coming to Florida from Texas where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Corpus Christi, and a Master of Science degree from Texas A&I University, he spearheaded both efforts to get Looe Key and the entire Florida Keys region declared National Marine Sanctuaries. 

In 1981 Looe Key was declared a marine sanctuary and a few years later, Mr. Causey was named manager. In 1990 the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was created, again largely thanks to Mr. Causey's efforts. He currently holds the position of superintendent of the Florida Keys Sanctuary, a job that involves serving as the liaison with local, state and other federal agencies responsible for management of natural resources in the Florida Keys. This also means he is the lead official in the development of a management plan for this 2800 square nautical mile marine protected area.

Part of Mr. Causey's job also includes promoting conservation and educating people, such as the group of campers he spoke with on August 11, about their Marine Sanctuary system.

"Creating a Complete Sanctuary"
August 11, 2001

After introducing himself and his background, Mr. Causey began to explain the importance and relevance of preserving marine environments. Fifty percent of the population in the United States resides within fifty miles of the coastline, a fact that he believes should make every American want to know more about their Marine Sanctuaries system. 

Mr. Causey used a slideshow to explain some of the aspects of how the Marine Santuaries system works and what his job entails. He also shared some of his concerns and challenges to his job of preserving the South Florida ecosystem. He explained how problems that come from growth and human interaction with the environment can possibly offset the ecosystem. Just a couple examples he discussed were the affects of global warming on coral, which causes coral bleaching, and the devlopment of sugar farming in central Florida that led to severe pollution of the Everglades. 

Just like most of the scientists that visit Seacamp, Mr. Causey had a plan to combat these problems and he was more than willing to share. He talked about all the tools that the sanctuaries system has to offer in preserving marine ecology, which includes everything from research and educational presentations like the one he was currently giving, to coral restoration and long-term protection strategies such as the establishment of ecological preserves in the Dry Tortugas and other unique marine sites. Before taking questions from excited campers, Mr. Causey finished his presentation with some slides of the specially designed underwater habitat he would be living in with other scientists at the bottom of the sea floor somewhere off the upper keys. As the slideshow finished, the lights went up to reveal a sea of raised hands, a sure sign of another successful lecture. 

 


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