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 8 National Park Sites That Tell the Story of Immigration
Blog Post 8 National Park Sites That Tell the Story of Immigration From Castle Clinton National Monument to Golden Gate National Recreation Area, national park sites explore the stark contrasts of the immigrant experience.
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 Celebrate Dark Skies at These 26 National Parks
Blog Post Celebrate Dark Skies at These 26 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.
I appreciate the stories they tell us and I find inspiration in their beauty. — Kaina
Read more about 8 Easy Adventures for Hikers of All Fitness Levels
Blog Post 8 Easy Adventures for Hikers of All Fitness Levels New independent film features a series of low-effort, high-reward hikes for finding joy in the outdoors.
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.
Read more about $60 Million Transportation Grant for Tamiami Trail to Advance Everglades Restoration
Press Release $60 Million Transportation Grant for Tamiami Trail to Advance Everglades Restoration Completion of the Tamiami Trail project will be a tremendous victory for Everglades restoration and the end-result of 30 years of hard work by local communities and state and federal leaders
Read more about 10 Parks You Helped Put on the Map
Blog Post 10 Parks You Helped Put on the Map NPCA and its supporters have worked for a century to protect every one of our national park sites — and to expand our National Park System to include more of the places that make America special.
Read more about Extending Turkey Point Nuclear Operations Jeopardizes Health of Biscayne National Park
Press Release Extending Turkey Point Nuclear Operations Jeopardizes Health of Biscayne National Park Environmental analysis must address health, water and climate concerns for Biscayne and Everglades national parks, nearby communities and endangered and threatened wildlife.
Read more about What is going to happen to national parks in the next century?
Magazine Article What is going to happen to national parks in the next century? We asked a handful of writers, activists, scholars and conservationists about their hopes, dreams and fears about the National Park System. Here’s what they had to say.
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 Trump Administration Rollback Could Hurt These 10 Parks
Blog Post Trump Administration Rollback Could Hurt These 10 Parks Revisions to the Clean Water Rule could have real, on-the-ground consequences for hundreds of national park sites — including these 10.
Read more about When Your Toddler Meets a Crocodile
Magazine Article When Your Toddler Meets a Crocodile How wise is it to bring a kid on a canoe trip through the watery wilds of the Everglades?
Read more about Saving the Panther
Magazine Article Saving the Panther The Florida panther was going to die out. Then conservationists dreamed up a daring rescue operation.
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 the Biscayne Program Manager 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 Zemanski Heis joined NPCA in 2010 and leads communications outreach for the Midwest, Northeast and NPCA's national water work. She also leads the communications outreach strategy in support of NPCA’s corporate partnerships and 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 ›