NPCA’s Sun Coast Region operates out of Hollywood, Florida on issues relating to the diverse national parks of Florida, Louisiana, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Whether paddling a canoe through the subtropical wonderland of the Everglades, touring the casemates of Dry Tortugas’ Fort Jefferson, or snorkeling along coral reefs in the crystal clear waters of the Virgin Islands, parks in the Sun Coast are culturally distinct, eminently historic, and a little wet and wild. Tackling threats to these parks, both big and small, is the mission of the dedicated staff of the Sun Coast Region.
Encompassing Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Sun Coast region is remarkably high in biodiversity. The region spans both temperate and tropical ecosystems, with many of its parks already experiencing the impacts and challenges of a changing climate.
These field reports provide timely updates and perspectives on issues of interest to our members and supporters in Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.See more ›
Among its protection priorities, the Sun Coast team plays a critical leadership role in advancing the restoration of America’s Everglades, including Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, Big Cypress National Preserve, and the connected waters of Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The team also prioritizes marine conservation to protect and restore the region’s incredible yet severely imperiled coral reefs and marine wildlife. Interwoven across the Sun Coast region’s work are efforts to engage and empower the diverse communities and people of the region to inspire effective advocacy for our treasured parks.
A region rich in history and culture, the team also fights to keep America’s stories alive, from Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve to the San Juan National Historic Site. The Sun Coast team defends the fragile coral reefs and vital fisheries at Biscayne National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park and Virgin Islands National Park and fights to preserve one of the Florida panther’s last habitats in Big Cypress National Preserve. Working to promote policies that better protect our parks alongside community members and elected leaders, Sun Coast staff members ensure parks receive the attention, protection and funding they deserve.
As we celebrate NPCA’s centennial in 2019, the Sun Coast team leads ongoing efforts to preserve treasured park resources — while looking toward the future to enhance people’s connection to parks and tell the American story that is so deeply interwoven into the fabric of America’s incredible national parks.
Creature Feature: Florida Panther
By the early 1990s, official estimates put the number of wild Florida panthers between 30 and 50, and extensive inbreeding resulted in birth defects and reproductive issues. NPCA and others helped capture eight Texas cougars and transported them to the Everglades in the 1990s as part of a daring genetic rescue to diversify the gene pool. Today, many of the 120 to 230 adult panthers that live in the Everglades are descendants of the Texas females.
More about the Sun Coast region
Read more about Park Talks
Regional Events Park Talks Join our NPCA community for virtual "Park Talks" to learn about our work and ways you can get involved.
Read more about 7 Dream Destinations Worth Planning For
Blog Post 7 Dream Destinations Worth Planning For The pandemic is restricting travel for many people — but extra time stuck at home now could mean more extensive preparation for an epic park adventure when conditions are safe again.
Read more about Honor Indigenous History at These 15 Parks
Blog Post Honor Indigenous History at These 15 Parks Gerard Baker, who served in the highest position for any Native American in National Park Service history, recommends 15 sites for visitors to learn about the extensive connections tribes have with the lands that make up today’s national parks.
Read more about Call of Duty
Magazine Article Call of Duty For nearly 50 years, Lt. Col. Cheeseman and his troops have been a mainstay at Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, where they have fixed up everything from a rusted iron lighthouse to leaky toilets.
In an overpopulated planet dominated by industrialization and human destruction, the preservation of open land is essential to maintaining our connection to the natural world. As we continue to transform Earth at our whim, it's easy to lose sight of its wonder. For those enclosed in urban environments, it's also easy to lose sight of the fact that we share this place with other magnificent species, and seeing those species in the wild is essential to understanding our true place among them. — Ben
Read more about 5 Sharks You'll Want to Meet — from a Distance — at National Parks
Blog Post 5 Sharks You'll Want to Meet — from a Distance — at National Parks Just in time for Shark Week: Learn about some of the most majestic and fascinating wildlife at our coastal parks.
Read more about 9 Not-So-Cute Endangered Animals That Live in Our Parks
Blog Post 9 Not-So-Cute Endangered Animals That Live in Our Parks Celebrate Endangered Species Day with these curious critters
Read more about Celebrate Dark Skies at These 27 National Parks
Blog Post Celebrate Dark Skies at These 27 National Parks Lay out a blanket after the sun goes down and see a clearer view of the universe at these designated dark-sky parks.
Read more about Trump Administration Signals To Reopen National Parks While Health Concerns Remain
Press Release Trump Administration Signals To Reopen National Parks While Health Concerns Remain "Until it is completely safe to reopen, national parks must remain closed for the safety of park staff, visitors and communities." -- Theresa Pierno
Read more about Army Corps Backtracks on Clean Water Act Protections for Big Cypress National Preserve
Press Release Army Corps Backtracks on Clean Water Act Protections for Big Cypress National Preserve The National Parks Conservation Association joins fellow environmental advocates in expressing concern over this unsubstantiated flip-flop and calling for answers to many questions that the Army Corps’ reversal letter has raised.
Read more about Amid Public Health Threat, Park Superintendents Given Authority to Close Areas Within National Parks
Press Release Amid Public Health Threat, Park Superintendents Given Authority to Close Areas Within National Parks These are unprecedented times, and we need to make sure park staff and visitor's health comes first.
Read more about Army Corps Finds Significant Damage in Big Cypress National Preserve After NPS Green Lights Oil and Gas Exploration
Press Release Army Corps Finds Significant Damage in Big Cypress National Preserve After NPS Green Lights Oil and Gas Exploration Heavy machinery left deep scars across more than one hundred miles of this priceless landscape, creating unnatural channels across iconic wetlands in America’s Greater Everglades ecosystem.
Read more about Sun Coast Regional Office Field Reports
Report Sun Coast Regional Office Field Reports These field reports provide timely updates and perspectives on issues of interest to our members and supporters in Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Read more about Regional Director, Sun Coast
Staff Melissa Abdo, Ph.D. As Regional Director overseeing national park & preserve protection efforts from Louisiana and Florida to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Melissa leads NPCA's work across the Sun Coast.
Read more about Biscayne National Park’s Fishery Management Plan
Fact Sheet Biscayne National Park’s Fishery Management Plan The National Park Service and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are set to begin a public process that will determine the specific regulations to be implemented in Biscayne National Park. Unfortunately, initial proposals by FWC to increase size limits are not strong enough to lead to sustainable fish populations.
Read more about Communications Manager
Staff and Media Personnel Kyle Groetzinger Kyle Groetzinger joined NPCA in June 2019 as Communications Manager for the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Sun Coast, and Texas regions, as well as NPCA's national cultural resources team.
Read more about NPCA Comment on Florida Crystals Lease
Letter NPCA Comment on Florida Crystals Lease The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) writes in strong objection to yesterday’s action by the South Florida Water Management District SFWMD Governing Board to execute a new contract with Florida Crystals on public land designated for Everglades restoration.
Read more about Wild Florida (Everglades and Keys)
Land Based Trip Wild Florida (Everglades and Keys) Leave your preconceived notions of Florida behind and slip into a quiet world of sloughs, sawgrass prairie, hardwood hammock, mangroves, aquamarine bays, and coral reefs. Kayak mangrove tunnels in Everglades National Park, explore the pirate history and coral reefs of Biscayne National Park, and take a boat ride out to Dry Tortugas National Park to explore the historic and impressive Fort Jefferson and snorkel the clear waters.
Read more about Ozone Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet Ozone Fact Sheet Ozone threatens the health of park visitors and contributes to the disease and death of park species such as the black cherry tree in the East and aspen and ponderosa pine in the West. National park ecosystems across the country are already showing damage from ground-level ozone pollution.
Read more about 10 Ways to Be a Park Advocate
Resource 10 Ways to Be a Park Advocate Want to be an advocate for parks, but don't know where to start?
Read more about Regional Director of Development
Staff Sarah Reed Sarah joined NPCA in 2017, with 13 years of development experience she serves as the Regional Director of Development for the Texas and Sun Coast Regions.
Read more about A Legacy Threatened
Report A Legacy Threatened NPCA's photo book shows the damage to parks caused by the 2017 hurricanes.
Read more about Modifying Tamiami Trail: A Solution for the Everglades
Fact Sheet Modifying Tamiami Trail: A Solution for the Everglades Tamiami Trail is an unnatural barrier that cuts the Everglades in two in the center of its body.
Read more about Sun Coast Office Coordinator
Staff Cheryl Swaby As the Regional Office coordinator, Cheryl supports the regional and national program work and teammates, providing a positive, happy, and productive stronghold for the Sun Coast team.
Read more about Water for America’s Everglades
Fact Sheet Water for America’s Everglades Florida’s waters are in crisis. Everglades National Park and Florida Bay are starved for freshwater, while the northern Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie River are inundated with polluted Lake Okeechobee discharges. The solution to this crisis is to send clean water south to the Everglades, restoring some of the historic “River of Grass” that once dominated this unique ecosystem.
Read more about 30 Biologists Oppose Seismic Testing Plan for Big Cypress
Letter 30 Biologists Oppose Seismic Testing Plan for Big Cypress 30 biologists from universities and organizations throughout Florida and the Southeast sent a letter to Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell asking her to reject a seismic testing plan that would put 70,000 acres of the park at risk, including habitat for the critically endangered Florida panther.
Read more about Find Your Voice: Biscayne National Park
Video Find Your Voice: Biscayne National Park National Parks belong to you. See how a group of young advocates in Miami learned how to explore, protect, and advocate for their park as a part of the National Parks Conservation Association’s Find Your Voice initiative.
Read more about Everglades Restoration Senior Program Manager
Staff Cara Capp Cara works to restore and protect natural resources in and around Florida's national parks as the Sun Coast's Everglades Restoration Senior Program Manager.
Read more about Associate Director, Sun Coast Region
Staff Caroline McLaughlin As Associate Director for the Sun Coast region, Caroline focuses her efforts on protecting the stunning marine resources of this unique park.
Read more about Associate Director, National Partnerships
Staff Jacqueline Crucet The Sun Coast Outreach Manager, Jackie works on community engagement initiatives, Florida Bay preservation, youth advocacy, and grants implementation and management.
Read more about Director, Communications
Staff and Media Personnel Alison Zemanski Heis Alison Heis joined the organization in 2010 and oversees media outreach and communications for the East Coast, Midwest, and NPCA's national water initiatives. She leads communication outreach focused on strengthening NPCA’s brand through corporate partnerships and our emerging celebrity engagement efforts.
Explore Our Parks
- Big Cypress National Preserve ›
- Biscayne National Park ›
- Buck Island Reef National Monument ›
- Canaveral National Seashore ›
- Cane River Creole National Historical Park ›
- Castillo de San Marcos National Monument ›
- Christiansted National Historic Site ›
- De Soto National Memorial ›
- Dry Tortugas National Park ›
- Everglades National Park ›
- Fort Caroline National Memorial ›
- Fort Matanzas National Monument ›
- Gulf Islands National Seashore ›