Love Your Lagoon Gala


6th Annual "Love Your Lagoon" Gala 

a Sold-Out Success

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (February 14, 2017) – The work of local students conducting research on the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) will continue, thanks to proceeds from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation’s (HBOIF) highly successful “Love Your Lagoon” gala. The sixth annual sold-out event recently took place at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI), with 315 people attending, raising critical funding to benefit HBOI research and outreach. 

Proceeds from the event will fund the 2017 IRL Graduate Research Fellows program, supporting the work of students involved in direct Indian River Lagoon research at HBOI. The competitive process will result in support for salary, tuition, travel to present research, and/or necessary materials. Fellows will ultimately present their research at the 2018 IRL Symposium as well as the FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Science Graduate Research Day.

In addition, proceeds from this year’s event supported the recent Indian River Lagoon Symposium – “Indian River Lagoon: An Estuary in Peril.”  Attended by more than 600 over the course of two days, the IRL Symposium is a multi-institutional, multi-agency effort to provide a forum for discussing IRL science and its application to management of the lagoon.

Diane Dunmire Barile, former professor at Florida Atlantic University, was selected by the HBOIF board of directors as the “Leadership and Achievement Honoree,” receiving her award via live feed at the dinner.  Barile, the founder of the Marine Resources Council, has been considered an early pioneer to raise awareness about human impact on the health of the Indian River Lagoon.    Special tribute was also paid to Bob Brunjes of Treasure Coast Newspapers and the team reporting on the issues facing the Indian River Lagoon.

Honorary Host Committee Members included: Mr. Michael O’Reilly and Mrs. Marie O’Reilly, Co-Chairs; Mr. & Mrs. Bob and Amy Brunjes; Dr. Duane De Freese; Mr. & Mrs. Kevin and Bebe Grady; Mr. & Mrs. Rob & Michelle Naberhaus; Mr. & Mrs. John and Judy Orcutt; Ms. Marjorie Raines and Mr. Harold Baker; Mr. & Mrs. Bill and Laurie Stewart; Jim and Jonnie Swann Corp.; Mr. Pete Tesch; Mr. & Mrs. Luke and Molly Webb; and Ms. Laura Minton Young.

This year’s sponsors included: Mangrove Sponsors: Mr. Joseph Z. Duke, III and Mrs. Jennifer Johnson Duke; Mr. Michael O’Reilly and Mrs. Marie O’Reilly. Seagrass Sponsors: Ms. Marjorie Raines & Mr. Harold Baker. Oyster Sponsors: The Law Firm of Dean, Mead, Minton & Zwemer; Mr. James Johnson and Mrs. Gretchen Johnson; Treasure Coast Newspapers. Dolphin Sponsors: Evans Properties, Inc.; Ms. Katha Kissman; Mr. John Papa and Mrs. Barbara Papa; William J. Stewart, Esq. & Mrs. Laurie Kaneb-Stewart and the Law Firm of Rossway Swan Tierney Barry Lacey & Oliver, P.L.; Mr. Michael Toner and Mrs. Carol Toner; 97.1 Ocean FM and Newsradio 1490 WTTB AM/FM. Manatee Sponsors: Adams Ranch; AT&T; Ms. Marilyn C. Link; Dr. Ed Lippisch and Mrs. Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch; Mr. Michael D. Minton & Mrs. Misty Minton; Mr. Ed Michelson and The Atlanta Consulting Group; PNC; Wells Fargo. Seahorse Sponsors: Mr. & Mrs. Michael Brown, Sr; Mr. C. Amos Bussmann & Sea Technology Magazine; Dr. Joseph Ferro & Mrs. Olivia Ferro; Florida Power and Light; Drs. Tom & Shannon Galinis of Aesthetic Dentistry, Palm City; Mr. Patrick Higgs & Mrs. Nancy Higgs; Dr. Megan Davis-Hodgkins and Mr. Gary Hodgkins; Kmetz, Nuttall, Elwell, Graham CPAs; Mrs. Clare Kremer; Martin Health Systems; Metz, Husband & Daughton; Mikita Foundation; Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company; Ott Hydromet; Mr. Shaun & Ms. Stacey Plymale of Treasure Coast Legal; Dr. Thomas Plymale and Mrs. Sherry Plymale; Premier Estate Properties; Stuart Magazine; Jim and Jonnie Swann Corp.; Mr. Christopher Waln and Mrs. Janet Waln; Windsor; Wyland Foundation.

Mark your calendars now for the seventh annual “Love Your Lagoon” Gala, which is tentatively set for Friday, Feb. 2, 2018.  For more information on next year’s event, call 772-466-9876 ext. 200 or visit  


About Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation:

The mission of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation is to support Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, a research institute of Florida Atlantic University. Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation (HBOIF) supports marine science and engineering research and education by funding HBOI-FAU efforts to advance understanding of oceans and coastal areas through exploration and scientific inquiry. HBOIF is a 501(c) 3 organization and a Direct-Support Organization (DSO) of Florida Atlantic University benefitting Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.   For more information, visit



You can help
support important research
at Harbor Branch
by purchasing one of these
Specialty License Plates