Indian River Legacy


March, 2020

When: Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Marine Discovery Center, 520 Barracuda Blvd, NSB, 32169

Cost: FREE

The lecture is open to the public at no charge and no reservations are required.

*This lecture has been postponed, but a new date has not been set. Please check back for updates.

“Indian River Legacy” with a personal history of fishing on the Indian River Lagoon will be the topic of the Marine Discovery Center’s Public Lecture Series for March.

Titusville’s Laurilee Thompson, a lifelong commercial fisherwoman and conservation activist, will be the guest speaker for the presentation on Thursday, March 19, starting at 7 p.m.

The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach. Weather permitting, the lecture will be held at the center’s Hunter Amphitheater, located behind MDC.

Thompson, whose family has owned and operated Dixie Crossroads seafood restaurant in Titusville since 1983, began her lifelong love of the lagoon as a child. She began catching and selling bait shrimp at age 10, tended 150 crab traps as a teenager, worked on offshore commercial fishing boats and spent 24 years in commercial fishing before settling into the family’s business, helping it grow from 30 seats to 465 seats.

In her presentation, Thompson will recall the lagoon’s crystal-clear waters in the 1950s and will discuss how she has seen the estuary change over the decades and what she believes is needed to bring it back to its former splendor and productivity.

Thompson has long been active in conservation efforts in Florida. Among her many roles, she is: the founding member of the Brevard Nature Alliance; founder of the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival; a member of the Southeastern Fisheries Association and the Southeast Fishery Management Council’s Deepwater Shrimp Advisory Panel; a trustee for Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute; and vice president of the Merritt Island Wildlife Association/fundraising chair for the wildlife refuge’s new $4.2 million Community Conservation and Education Center.

Among her many honors, Thompson: was the 1998 Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year in recognition for her work in the business of eco-tourism; winner of the 2010 Southeastern Fisheries Association Paul Herring American Freedom Award on behalf of fishermen and fishing communities; recipient of the 2013 Marine Resources Council Stan Blum Award for lifetime service to the Indian River Lagoon; and 2017 Southeastern Fisheries Association Member of the Year Award winner for meritorious leadership in restoring sea grasses in the Indian River Lagoon.

Some seating will be available, but guests are encouraged to bring folding chairs or blankets for the amphitheater presentation. The facility is wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant. Early arrival is recommended.

In the event of inclement weather, the presentation will be held indoors in the Learning Lab at the center.

For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.

The lecture is open to the public at no charge  |  No reservations are required