Tag-Archive for » Mark Griffith «

October 28th, 2009 | Author:

As 2009  begins to wind down and we head into the holiday months, the marine sanctuary committee is beginning to look forward to the coming year’s challenges and how best to meet them.  One of the changes will be in the routine operations of the committee –  like managing communications, coordinating fund raising and grant activity, managing the permit process, etc.   Previously, we have  taken things as they come and  doled out the various tasks as the needs arise, like manning information booths, event planning, and speaking to community groups.

Now that we have a little more experience with running the different parts of the marine sanctuary program we can be more proactive with individuals  leading different functional areas.  Coming out of the October meeting, the breakout for the areas of leadership and the people that will be leading in each area are:

Communications- Nancy Sandler

Community Awareness Events – Dan McCarren

Presentations – Andy Epstein

Finance – Mike Sandler

Reef Sponsorship Program – Mandy Evers

Grants – Robert Turpin

Website – Mark Griffith

Permitting – Mark Griffith

After the new year a new Chairman of the Marine Sanctuary committee for the 2010 calendar year will be named.

2009 has been a year of many successes for the Marine Sanctuary Program, and  with the  reorganization outlined above we look forward to even better progress 2010.   Thanks to those committee members  stepping forward positively in leading our efforts to Make Navarre Snorkelicious!

August 14th, 2009 | Author:


    Run for the Reef 5K – October 10th

Our sponsorship dance card is filling up – We have six silver sponsors and four bronze sponsors along with our major sponsor (The Navarre Press). If you would like to be a bronze sponsor for a $100 donation and get your name or your businesses name on the back of the inaugural race t-shirt you can sign up here. We’d like to get all the sponsors confirmed by the end of August so we can firm up the T-Shirt design.

Thanks to the following folks that have stepped forward to make our fall run a success

Race Director – Jeff Harris
Registration Coordinator – Nancy Sandler
Course Director – Tony Giangiulio
T-Shirt/Amenities/Awards Coordinator – Andy Epstein
Race Day Merchandising (Kiss The Fish/T-Shirt Sales) – Claudia Kremer

The Race Committee sill needs a few more volunteers in the following areas:
1. Post-Race Refreshments Coordinator
2. Results Coordinator
3. Finish Line Coordinator
4. Start Line Coordinator
5. Aid Station Coordinator

No experience is necessary. This is a great way to get involved and informed about the Marine Sanctuary and the help Make Navarre Snorkelicious. Also – you don’t have to be one of the coordinators to help out on race day. If you can help with setup, breakdown, course monitoring or a myriad of other things we’ll need to do your efforts will be appreciated.

Email Mark Griffith at navbms@navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com or call at 850-677-1875 to volunteer.

    Impact100 Grant

We had a great site visit and have answered all the follow up questions from the environmental focus group. (There are five focus groups – one grant of $108,000 is issued in each focus group). The Impact 100 committee(s) will meet again to discuss and analyze the grant applications and information from the site visits. We will know where we stand in the competition for the environmental category by September 16th. The grants will be awarded in October. Think good thoughts….we are hoping to use the grant for funding the sound side reefs.


Our environmental consultant has completed work on all the permit applications and they are ready for the county’s signature and official submission. We will post the permit information here on our website this weekend and the public is invited to comment on them at our next monthly meeting (August 25th). Immediately after the August 25th meeting we will deliver to the County Administrator the permit applications (along with a summary of the comments from our meeting). We believe the county will officially submit them within a couple of weeks of receiving them.

Community Awareness:

The Navarre Press promotional video about the Marine Sanctuary should be complete today. We plan to publish it on our website and on YouTube. We can also use it to display at any community events or festivals or to aide presentations to the many area civic groups.

We are currently scheduled to present information about the Marine Sanctuary and our efforts to the following groups:

NBLRA – Saturday Aug 15 – 10 AM
Chamber Coffee and Commerce – Friday August 28th – 7:30 AM
Hurlburt Dive Club – Thursday September 3rd – 6 PM
Navarre Rotary Club – Thursday Sep 17th – Noon
Pensacola Rotary Club – Tuesday Sep 29th – Noon

Next monthly meeting – Tuesday, August 25th – Navarre Visitor Center Conference Room (enter through rear sound side door please).

July 15th, 2009 | Author:

The Race Committee needs volunteers to take charge of a planning and execution of the various things that need to get done to put on the Run for the Reef 5K on October 10th.  The list below are the areas where we need a volunteer to take charge.

  1. Post-Race Refreshments Coordinator
  2. Registration Coordinator (Filled  – Nancy Sandler)
  3. Course Director
  4. Results Coordinator
  5. Finish Line Coordinator
  6. Start Line Coordinator
  7. Aid Station Coordinator
  8. T-Shirt/Amenities/Awards Coordinator

We have checklists and other information regarding what needs to be done when  – in some cases a lot of the work is already done or planned.   What we need are some folks to step up and help by taking responsibility in one of these areas for getting things done prior to the race and on race day.

This is a great way to get involved and informed about the Marine Sanctuary and the help Make Navarre Snorkelicious.

If you can help email Mark Griffith at navbms@navarrebeachmarinesanctuar.com or call at 850-677-1875.


June 15th, 2009 | Author:

Building a snorkeler’s sanctuary
Group installing reefs to draw tourists, sea life

By: Louis Cooper • lcooper@pnj.com • June 15, 2009 PNJ.COM

When Hurricane Opal shut down the Navarre Pier in 1995, fishermen were put off, but snorkelers rejoiced.

Navarre resident Brenda Stokes called the underwater environs around the quieted pier “a wonderland.”

“Because the pier is there with the shade, it’s phenomenal what comes there,” Stokes said. “I think we documented over 50 different kinds of fish, and there’s the sponges and sea grasses that grow on the pilings. Each piling is like a little ecosystem. There’s even juvenile octopus.”

Once the pier was repaired and fishing resumed, the snorkeling had to stop. But Stokes and others birthed the idea of building reefs and platforms to create an underwater recreation area that would welcome sea life for snorkelers to appreciate. Thus was born the idea behind the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary.

Although the project has been discussed for years, it recently has received starter money from the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council and the blessing of the Santa Rosa County Commission. The project could be completed by July 2013.

“This is not common in the state of Florida,” Stokes said. “One on the east coast of Florida was so popular, you couldn’t get into the park on the weekend. The ones that are in shallow waters are really popular. This is completely geared toward the beginner snorkeler — anyone who can put on a mask.”

Tourism and education

The sanctuary will consist of three components — Gulf Side Snorkeling/Diving Reef, Sound Side Snorkeling Reef and Gulf Side Observation Pier, said Mark Griffith, chairman of the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Committee. That committee operates under the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“Environmentally, the reefs will improve water quality in the Sound, increase marine biodiversity and provide essential marine habitat for juvenile fish species,” said Griffith, a Navarre technology consultant and recreational fisherman. “Educationally the reefs will encourage more marine research, study, and grant activity by providing a centerpiece amenity complementing the (new Navarre Beach Marine Science Station) at the park.”

The sanctuary could pump as much as $1.17 million annually into the local economy, the committee predicts. That’s based on two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studies of the impact of near-shore reef facilities and the study of the impact of the sinking of the Oriskany south of Pensacola as an artificial reef.

The committee believes the sanctuary will generate at least a 3 percent increase in Santa Rosa tourism.

Kate Wilkes, executive director of the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council, called near-shore diving and snorkeling an “up-and-coming” area of tourist activity.

“It’s not like you have to go way, way out, like the Oriskany. It’s close by,” Wilkes said. “It’s another thing to offer, enjoying our natural resources, getting in the water, whether it’s in the Sound or in the Gulf.”

Charlene Mauro Fearon, a marine science teacher at Navarre High School who has been active in the project, looks forward to using the sanctuary in the coursework at the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station.

“We will do a study of habitat and type of fish that want to call it home,” Fearon said. “I hope to run a partnership with the marine sanctuary and include my students on surveys on the biodiversity that occurs. It’s real research that we can do over years.”

Aquatic life that Fearon expects will call the sanctuary home include yellow tail, sheep’s head, gobies, blennies, sea anemones, jellyfish, squid, sea turtles and nurse sharks.

Project seeking money

The sanctuary carries an estimated cost of about $2.3 million. The Tourist Development Council has allocated $6,000 to be used for permit applications for Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The project has collected about $400 in private donations, but Griffith has high hopes for more.

“Our goal is to fund the bulk of the project using private and corporate donations and grants,” he said. “We are very interested in partnering with local corporations for both monetary support and in kind contributions for things like meeting space, printing, advertisement” and more.

The committee plans to raise money through its Web site, www.navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com, as well as events like the Run for the Reef 5K, scheduled for Oct. 10. The committee also is applying for an IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area grant.

The Santa Rosa County Commission approved a resolution giving the sanctuary its blessing in May, smoothing the application process for project.

“It will be a unique attraction in Santa Rosa County and Northwest Florida,” said County Commissioner Gordon Goodin. “In an area surrounded by water, the facility will be a natural and appropriate part of life in Northwest Florida.”

But Goodin doesn’t see the project getting significant money from the county.

“I haven’t seen a budget or scope of the project that details costs,” he said. “I’m certain the county may have some costs that it will bear (like in kind donations and administrative expense), but I would expect most of the funding to come from grants and legislative appropriations.”

Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Details

The Phase I: Gulf Side Reef

— Planned as 22 clusters of seven concrete pilings, sunk about 30 to 35 feet below the surface in 10 to 25 feet of water. The reef area encompasses a 263-foot-by-71-foot area about 300 feet south of the shoreline at the near the center point of the Navarre Beach Park. The top of each piling cluster will be about 6 feet below the water’s surface and lighted marker buoys 100 feet from the southernmost cluster will mark south east and south west corners closed to watercraft.

— Estimated cost: $300,000 to $400,000.

— Completion: Between June 2011 and February 2012

The Phase II: Sound Side Reef

— Planned off the northern shore of the park in 7 to 10 feet of water in Santa Rosa Sound. There will be 105, three-tier, ecosystem-type reefs in clusters of five, providing 93,360 square feet of reef surface. Four marker buoys on the corners of the area will indicate the area closed to watercraft.

— Estimated cost: $133,000.

— Completion: Between August 2011 and February 2012

The Phase III: Observation Pier

— Planned to extend into the Gulf and partially over the northern end of the Gulf Side Reef to allow pedestrian access to view the reef and the snorkeling/diving activity.

— Estimated cost: $1.8 million to $1.9 million

— Completion: Between November 2012 and July 2013

For More Information See http://www.navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com

May 19th, 2009 | Author:

Be a “RUN for the REEF” 5K Charity Race sponsor!

When: October 10th, 2009

Where: Navarre Beach Park/Pier Parking Lot

It’s Easy – You can do it on line at


Just write “Run for the Reef” under Special Instructions for Seller and the information asked below (name, company, email, phone and sponsorship level) when reviewing your on line donation.

Levels of sponsorship between Silver and Gold are also available – please contact Mark Griffith at 850-677-1875 to or email him at navbms@navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com to find out more.

Gold      $2000 Prime sponsors – logo on front of t-shirt (Max of 2 Prime sponsors)
Silver       $250 Small logo or larger font – company or business listing on back (Max of 10)
Bronze     $100 Small font – company or business listing on back of t-shirt

Name:  _______________________________________________________

E Mail:  ________________________________________________

Phone: _____________________________________________________

Company:  ____________________________________________________

“Run For the Reef” Sponsorship Level:

Gold    $2000 ___

Silver       $250 ___

Bronze $100 ___

Or you can do it by check – pay to Navarre COC Foundation Account – Indicate Run Sponsorship in Memo and include the information from the form above. You can copy and paste the above form information into a word document and print it or go here to view/download it in .pdf format.  Completed forms can be delivered to the Chamber at the Visitor’s Center at the Hwy 98 and the Navarre Beach Bridge or mailed to:
Navarre Area Chamber of Commerce, PO Drawer 5430, Navarre, FL 32566

May 19th, 2009 | Author:

We are Making Navarre Snorkelicious with two snorkeling/diving reefs and a pier.  The reefs will be beautiful, and benefit our economy and coastal ecosystem, as well as provide marine life education to children and adults.

As residents of Navarre, we are excited about this project for three main reasons:

•    Economy            –  $1.17 Million/Yr Economic Output
•    Environment    –   Increased Biodiversity and Cleaner Water
•    Education         –   Centerpiece Amenity for Marine Science Center

***How You or Your Business Can Help***

Sponsorship of the “Run for the Reef” charity 5k run and 1mile fun run October 10th.

Race Volunteers – Volunteer to be on the Run for the Reef Subcommittee to help plan and execute the Run for the Reef charity 5k run in the fall.

Event Volunteers – Volunteer to help man our booth at community events or with the International Coastal Cleanup in September

Tax Deductible Donations – On line at  http://www.navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com/donations
By check payable to Navarre COC Foundation Account (include Marine Sanctuary in the memo of your check).  at the Visitor’s Center at the Hwy 98 and the Navarre Beach Bridge or mailed to:
Navarre Area Chamber of Commerce
PO Drawer 5430
Navarre, FL 32566

For details on how you can Make Navarre Snorkelicious visit our website or email us at navbms@navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com.


Your friends at the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary
Mark Griffith / Chairman

April 30th, 2009 | Author:

We  need one or two more folks to help to man the booth Saturday between 10 AM and 4 PM.  Please email mark.griffith@myzenyx.com if you can fill one of those slots.  The current  booth manning assignments are listed below:

Friday May 15th  4 PM – 7 PM – Initial Setup
Come on out if you can to help figure out the best layout

Saturday May 16th Setup (7-10 AM)
Mark Griffith
Andy Epstein

Saturday May 16th Man the Booth (10 AM – 1 PM)
Stacey Malegni

Saturday May 16th Man the Booth (1 PM – 4 PM)
Stacey Malegni

Saturday May 16th Man the Booth (4 PM – 7 PM)
Stacey Malegni
Bob Haring
Dave Barker

Sunday  May 17th Man the Booth (10 AM – 1 PM)
Dale and Kenny Wilder

Sunday May 17th Man the Booth (1 PM – 4 PM)
Dave Barker
Will Smith

Sunday May 17th Breakdown (4 PM – 6 PM)
Mark Griffith
Andy Epstein
Dan McCarren

April 27th, 2009 | Author:

The Marine Sanctuary Committee is helping to gather support and volunteers for the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup this September.

Last year there were 300 plus volunteers from the Navarre Area that cleaned up from Navarre Park on the mainland across the causeway and Navarre beach down to the National Seashore.  Here are some statistics/info from the 2008 effort:

• 4th largest cleanup in the world
• 32,696 volunteers
• 416,279 lbs of debris removed
• 1,966 miles of beaches, lakes & waterways cleaned
• Over 500 cleanup sites statewide

The cleanup is currently planned for the third weekend in September.  Mike Sandler is coordinating the efforts in the Navarre area.

If you want to participate please email Dave Barker ( kykdave@usa.net ) with your contact information and what day or day (Saturday/Sunday) you can help.

March 23rd, 2009 | Author:

Impact 100 is a Pensacola organization that annually gives $100k+ grants for projects in different  categories including education, environment, recreation,and preservation.

The sanctuary committee needs a volunteer to spearhead the grant application process.  The first task is to attend the workshop put on by Impact 100 for prospective applicants.   The workshop will be Friday, March 27th, 9 – 11:30 AM, at the Lewis Bear Company, 6120 Enterprise Drive in Pensacola.

Please contact Mark Griffith via email  (mark.griffith@myzenyx.com ) or phone (850-677-1875) if you can help in this area.

March 19th, 2009 | Author:

We’re looking for volunteers to help us with our booth at the Navarre  Fun Fest on May  16th &17th!

Come on out to the meeting next week (March 26th 6:30 PM at Belle Mer Meeting Room on the Beach)   or email mark.griffith@myzenyx.com to volunteer.  It should be a FUNFEST day.

Click HERE for meeting details