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 Protect Marine Wildlife at Biscayne National Park
NPCA at Work Protect Marine Wildlife at Biscayne National Park We need responsible, science-based policies to manage Biscayne’s threatened fish populations.
Read more about Restore Fresh Water to Florida Bay in Everglades National Park
NPCA at Work Restore Fresh Water to Florida Bay in Everglades National Park Florida Bay is an estuary protected in large part by Everglades National Park. It has been plagued by problems from development upstream and starved for clean water. Now, years of work to save the bay could fall short if we don’t act to demand a better water management plan.
Read more about Commercial Spaceports Could Threaten Canaveral and Cumberland Island
NPCA at Work Commercial Spaceports Could Threaten Canaveral and Cumberland Island The commercial space industry is an exciting and growing field. But the race for space should not put our national seashores at risk.
Read more about Don’t Put Endangered Wildlife at Risk to Drill Big Cypress
NPCA at Work Don’t Put Endangered Wildlife at Risk to Drill Big Cypress A private energy development company wants to conduct seismic testing on 70,000 acres within Big Cypress National Preserve for oil and gas development — paving the way for drilling to begin on an unprecedented scale on national park land.
they maintain areas that provide an economical way for all of us to reconnect to nature and enjoy an active lifestyle, which has been shown to be important to the physical and mental health of our nation's citizens. — Jennifer
Read more about Protect America's Coral Reefs from Irresponsible Development
NPCA at Work Protect America's Coral Reefs from Irresponsible Development Developers are looking to construct two different marinas in Coral Bay on St. John, US Virgin Islands, which is surrounded by the lands and waters of Virgin Islands National Park and Coral Reef National Monument.
Read more about Create a Marine Reserve at Biscayne National Park
NPCA at Work Create a Marine Reserve at Biscayne National Park A marine reserve will help protect the incredible resources of Biscayne for the benefit of all Americans, now and for generations to come.
Read more about Protect Biscayne from Nuclear Expansion
NPCA at Work Protect Biscayne from Nuclear Expansion Plans to expand Turkey Point by adding two new nuclear units would make Turkey Point one of the largest nuclear power facilities in the country, in an area that is ground zero for sea level rise. The proposed expansion threatens our national parks, endangered wildlife, Everglades restoration, and the health of park water resources.
Read more about Learn About Black History in 11 Unexpected Places
Blog Post Learn About Black History in 11 Unexpected Places These fascinating sites share important and often overlooked stories about people who shaped U.S. history and culture.
Read more about Parks Group Celebrates Staffer Receiving 2024 Everglades Conservationist Award
Press Release Parks Group Celebrates Staffer Receiving 2024 Everglades Conservationist Award “Marisa Carrozzo is a true champion for America’s Everglades and iconic Florida national parks. Her contributions to the environmental movement in the Sunshine State cannot be overstated." -- NPCA Sun Coast Regional Director Melissa Abdo
Read more about 9 Perfect Parks for a Winter Workout
Blog Post 9 Perfect Parks for a Winter Workout Are you determined to get outside, even if the air is brisk? These nine parks allow you to stay active outdoors and work up a healthy sweat, even — or especially — with a winter chill in the air.
Read more about Poll: Most Americans Want Park Wildlife Better Protected
Blog Post Poll: Most Americans Want Park Wildlife Better Protected A majority of Americans believe more needs to be done to safeguard national park wildlife, a newly released NPCA poll shows.
Read more about A Rebellion Reappraised
Magazine Article A Rebellion Reappraised A new plaque at Virgin Islands National Park will commemorate a revolt that nearly succeeded in upending St. John’s slaveholding establishment.
Read more about Legal Lifeline
Magazine Article Legal Lifeline Celebrating 50 years of the Endangered Species Act
Read more about Senior Conservation Program Manager, Sun Coast
Staff Vanessa Trujillo, Ph.D. As the Senior Conservation Program Manager, Vanessa oversees the Sun Coast office's conservation programs, supporting regional and national efforts while emphasizing advocacy and partner engagement.
Read more about Speaking Up for the Swamp
Report Speaking Up for the Swamp Revealing Persistent Oil and Gas Impacts in Big Cypress National Preserve
Read more about New Report Examines Repercussions, Damage from Oil and Gas Testing in Big Cypress National Preserve
Press Release New Report Examines Repercussions, Damage from Oil and Gas Testing in Big Cypress National Preserve Industrial machinery tore through this wild landscape, razing hundreds of cypress trees and leaving miles of destroyed habitat in their wake.
Read more about Sun Coast Young Leaders Council
Resource Sun Coast Young Leaders Council NPCA’s Sun Coast Regional Office (SCRO) established the SCRO Young Leaders Council (YLC) in support of NPCA’s strategic effort to engage young people with diverse backgrounds, community connections and experiences to develop their civic voices, speak up for our parks, and expand the role of young advocates and volunteers in our communities.
Read more about Congress Averted an October Shutdown. But What’s Next?
Blog Post Congress Averted an October Shutdown. But What’s Next? National parks are open, thanks to late-night actions by Congress Sept. 30. But parks could face the same situation in mid-November that they just narrowly avoided if long-term funding issues aren’t resolved soon.
Read more about 5 Reasons We Need to Save Our Coral Reefs
Blog Post 5 Reasons We Need to Save Our Coral Reefs Coral reefs help our oceans’ teeming biodiversity survive the impacts of climate change. They also protect communities from severe storms and hurricanes. What happens to corals when 40% of the world’s oceans experience a marine heat wave, as they did this summer?
Read more about What a Federal Government Shutdown Means for National Parks
Blog Post What a Federal Government Shutdown Means for National Parks If Congress fails to pass appropriations bills by deadline, the federal government will shut down. This puts the National Park Service in the unfortunate but necessary position of having to close its parks — putting family vacations, school trips, park protection and local economies in jeopardy. Here are 10 frequently asked questions.
Read more about Everglades Engagement Fellow
Staff Marcelo Balladares Marcelo Balladares is a Miami native and has long been passionate about preserving our environment. As a fellow with the NPCA, he works to help the Suncoast Regional Office team protect and restore Everglades National Park and the surrounding waters and ecosystems to their desired state.
Read more about Regional Haze Pollution in EPA Region 4
Resource Regional Haze Pollution in EPA Region 4 Strong state regional haze plans are critical to restoring clean air and clear skies to treasured places like Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, states in the Southeast are failing to adequately cut air pollution impacting these parks and wilderness areas and communities.
Read more about Senior Coastal & Wildlife Program Manager
Staff Marisa Carrozzo Marisa Carrozzo is Senior Coastal & Wildlife Program Manager with NPCA’s Sun Coast Region. As an environmental policy professional with a proven track record in leadership and coalition-building across diverse stakeholder groups, Marisa works collaboratively to protect and enhance the treasured coastal and wildlife resources within and linked to the 21 national park units within the Sun Coast.
Read more about The Little Jewel Box
Podcast Episode The Little Jewel Box Winter can be an ideal time to travel. These 5 stories offer inspiration to put on a coat and explore.
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 Below the Surface
Podcast Episode Below the Surface An unusual predicament is pitting private oil rights against one of the world’s most treasured places. Could the National Park Service allow a private energy company to build oil wells in the Everglades?
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 Marine Programs in the Sun Coast Region
Resource Marine Programs in the Sun Coast Region NPCA’s Sun Coast Region approaches our marine work with an eye toward ecosystem conservation, restoration and resilience. We work strategically to identify, assess and proactively address the evolving threats to marine ecosystems and all species and resources within them.
Read more about Climate Change and Florida’s National Parks
Resource Climate Change and Florida’s National Parks Florida is among the most climate change-threatened states in the United States. Florida’s treasured national parks—spanning the Greater Everglades ecosystem northward into Gulf Islands National Seashore and beyond—are being impacted by our changing climate.
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. Melissa brings over 20 years of leadership experience to her role as the Sun Coast Regional Director of NPCA.
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 Associate Director, Communications
Staff and Media Personnel Kyle Groetzinger Kyle Groetzinger joined NPCA in June 2019 and serves as Associate Director of Communications. He leads communications strategy and media outreach efforts for the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Sun Coast, and Texas regions, along with the organization’s cultural resources and future parks teams.
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 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 Sun Coast Senior Coordinator
Staff Cheryl Swaby As the Senior Coordinator, Cheryl oversees administrative functions of the Sun Coast office, and supports the regional and national program efforts while embodying a positive and productive character as part of the Sun Coast team.
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.
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 ›