Showcasing innovation and the environment
Built on more than 500 acres next to Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, the Florida Conservation and Technology Center (FCTC) will be a nexus for recreation, learning and conservation, as well as research and technology.
On 20-acres, FCTC, jointly managed by the Florida Aquarium and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), currently hosts three doctoral students from the University of Florida and the University of Queensland performing research on coral, sea turtles and alligators. Two University of Florida professors and staff members from the Florida Aquarium and the FWC also are participating in the research.
The Marine Youth Conservation Center, currently under construction, will be part of the FWCâ€™s Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, providing unique learning experiences that immerse students of all ages in hands-on exploration of Floridaâ€™s natural environment.
Breaking ground in 2016, the Animal Rescue, Research and Holding Facility will feature the Florida Aquarium's rescue and rehabilitation programs for endangered species, such as sea turtles and river otters, and facilities for research initiatives like the coral reef restoration project. The site will be an official Association of Zoos and Aquariums rescue facility.
Tampa Electric will host an Energy Technology Center, currently in the design phase, featuring outdoor exhibits demonstrating state-of-the-art energy technologies. The center will generate enough electricity to power all activities at the FCTC campus, and will serve as an important research facility, allowing for the study of emerging technologies while providing operating and maintenance data and valuable experience for Tampa Electric team members, researches and the community.
Manatee Viewing Center
The award-winning Manatee Viewing Center (MVC) opened in December 1986 and has been educating the public about the Florida manatee and its habitat ever since. Each year, during the chilly weather season, manatees flock to a canal on Tampa Bay warmed by the clean water discharge from our Big Bend Power Station. More than 300,000 visitors, including students, tourists and local citizens visit the MVC each season to see and learn about manatees. Center staff and volunteers, many of whom are TECO Energy retirees, are available to answer questions and provide additional information. The center is open daily from Nov. 1 to April 15, and is free to the public.
While the center is open, two webcams allow the public to remotely view the manatees and other marine life.