About Us Location Our Mission A Message from our Founder Open Letter Board of Trustees Staff Naturalists Partners News Articles

About Us

Overlooking the dunes and ocean, the Biscayne Nature Center is a beautiful facility on the north end of Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. In this pristine setting, our multifunctional Center serves our visitors with a reception area, exhibit space, gift shop, an audio visual presentation room and demonstration lab classroom facilities.

And right outside our doors, we are fortunate to have Mother Nature's spectacular classroom, which we proudly care for and share with our visitors.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, Inc. is a not-for-profit Florida corporation whose interest is in the conservation of our local irreplaceable natural resources.

We are a cooperative project of three partners: Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation Department, and our not-for-profit community support group, The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, Inc.

Our U-shaped building is raised off the ground, featuring wide wrap around covered porches and a central amphitheater courtyard. The center is a venue suitable for a wide variety of activities and events. We utilize alternative technologies such as solar power, water and energy conservation and passive solar design, and recycled materials as is fitting a center dedicated to harmony with nature.

Location

All roads lead to the Biscayne Nature Center.

  1. If you are on I-95 or US 1, take the Key Biscayne Exit.
  2. Follow signs to Rickenbacker Causeway.
  3. Continuing straight ahead, look out for a sign announcing you are in Crandon Park. We are opposite the golf course entrance, 4.5 miles in from the Rickenbacker toll booth.
  4. You will turn left at the North Beach Entrance. (There is a small Nature Center sign at the turn.)
  5. Just beyond the toll booth, make a sharp left and you will see the Nature Center at the northern end of the parking lot - just beyond that baseball diamond.

If you find yourself in the Village of Key Biscayne, oh my, you just missed the North Beach Entrance. A good U-turn will have you headed back toward the Nature Center.

And, just in case, our number is 305-361-6767.

Our Mission

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to environmental education and the encouragement of greater citizen participation in the protection of our natural environment.

A Message From Founder Marjory Stoneman Douglas

It is indeed a great honor to have the Marjory Stoneman Douglas/Biscayne Nature Center bear my name. The promise that the nature center brings to Dade County is exciting.

The north end of Key Biscayne, with its mangroves, sand dunes, fossilized rock reef, ocean, and uplands, offers a unique opportunity to study the wonders of nature. The relationship of one natural system to another is a microcosm of South F1orida's coastal environment. In order to survive, its interdependence must not be obstructed by man. It is my hope that all who come to visit the nature center will leave with a better understanding and appreciation of this area.

I wish great success for the MSD/Biscayne Nature Center and look forward to its opening.

Sincerely,

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

"Housed in a hot dog stand"

An open letter from Theodora Long, Executive Director
In 1969, the Nature Center, housed in a hot dog stand, began as a summer camp for students in Crandon Park. Two years later, it became one of the first hands-on environmental Dade County School Programs. In 1985, after moving from various hot dog stands around the park, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, went before the Dade County School Board and declared the Nature Center needed a building of its own. At the young age of 95, Marjory scored a portable classroom building and a planted the idea for a community facility in Crandon Park. In 1991, the State of Florida Department of Education awarded the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center 1.8 million dollars to be matched for the construction her beloved Nature Center in Crandon Park.

Marjory was a remarkable woman. I find myself missing her. She was so proud as the matching funds came in for her Nature Center. She loved to hear stories about the children visiting the natural areas in Crandon Park. She loved to swim. She swam everyday with her friend Margaret. They would go to Matheson Hammock Park in Margaret's red Mercedes convertible and let their gray hair blow in the wind. She had so many great stories to tell. She also loved to hear great stories.

When I would take great pains in finding the perfect article to read to her - she would say, "I don't find what you are saying very interesting." I would panic and begin talking about the weather, Miami politics and who's who in Florida. She loved to hear all the gossip. She was an avid bird watcher. Looking out her living room windows there were always many birds and she knew one warbler from the next. Marjory's cat, Willie, and all his friends came and went as they pleased. Medina, Marjory's Caretaker, finally had to close the cat door to Marjory's bedroom.

Willie now lives at my house and hopefully can be at the Nature Center one day for everyone to meet. Marjory would say if you want to know how to relax - just watch a cat - they know just how to do it. Marjory was a great teacher. She never taught, she inspired. Many years ago, I remember going to City Hall with her. She said, "Ladies, when you know you are right, there is no need for compromise." We are still fighting the same case before City Hall, fifteen years later. She made us laugh, she loved to eat out and enjoyed afternoon tea. She was a friend who you found it hard to say "no" to.

Whenever you would visit Marjory at her home, she would always say, "How have you been... It was so nice of you to visit... I sure hope you will come again soon." In her memory, the same words will be spoken to all the visitors who come to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center in Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, Florida. Willie and I will be waiting for you.

Theodora H. Long, Executive Director
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, Inc.

Board of Trustees

  • Steven Sorkin, President
  • Thorn Grafton, Vice-President
  • Steven Henriques, Treasurer
  • James Tilghman
  • Stacia Smith
  • Judith Saylor
  • James Leshaw
  • Jackie Kellogg

Staff

  • Theodora Long, Executive Director
  • Sandra St. Hilaire, Program Coordinator
  • Claudia Succar Ferré, Director of Public Affairs

Naturalists

  • Caitlin Hill
  • Katherine Kelly
  • John Rella
  • Laura Rock
  • Mary Rose
  • Amel Saied
  • Daniella Sanchez
  • Bryan Schang
  • Joette Viggiano
  • Daniell Washington
  • Rita Zubliaga