You are here


Jeremy Wade of “River Monsters” tells fish tales at sold-out Science Center benefit


(Palm Beach, Fla.)  When the Circle Dining Room at The Breakers was transformed for the occasion on March 5 – outfitted with grass couches and planted palms - the more than 200 guests attendingthe South Florida Science Center and Aquarium’s annual benefit event felt as though they had really stepped into an Amazon rain forest.Once Jeremy Wade, host of Animal Planet’s wildly-popular show “River Monsters,” began his lively and interactive discussion about conservation, guests knew they had surely snagged a “big fish.” Wade’s presentation included personal anecdotes from his world-wide travels, including surviving a near-fatal dose of malaria in the Congo, being arrested for spying in South-East Asia and experiencing a plane crash in the Amazon.


Jeremy Wade is a biologist, extreme angler and writer specializing in travel and natural history. He is best known for using fishing as a means to look beneath the surface of human life in remote places.  An expert in ecology, rivers and conservation, Wade’s objective is to teach about animals which people are unfamiliar, his philosophy being "you can't care about what you don't know about."  Animal Planet’s most popular show, “River Monsters” was created to advocate for an appreciation of animals, delivering ecological and environmental lessons with a fine mix of suspense-filled entertainment.


“Jeremy Wade was a perfect fit for our annual benefit,” saidLew Crampton, Science Center CEO.  “As the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium continues to live its mission to ‘open every mind to science,’ conservation and preservation is a central theme. We are especially looking forward to expanding our educational outreach to tourists and locals with the addition of our new 18-hole miniature-golf course, appropriately named ‘The Conservation Course.’ Scheduled to break ground later this year, the course will educate users at each stop about Florida habitats, specifically the Everglades.”


In addition to several exciting raffle items, Crampton made a “call to heart” for sponsorship of the Science Center’s mini-golf course, a collaboration between famed golf families Fazio and Nicklaus. Donating their time and talents, and for the first time ever, Jim Fazio and Gary Nicklaus are designing the course, with the goal of appealing to both kids and serious Palm Beach putt-putt enthusiasts. Hole sponsorships are available for those who want to get in on the action at $10,000 each, with additional sponsorship opportunities available for $1,000 and $2,500.  Fundraising efforts are focusing on the back nine, as more than half of the hole sponsors are already sold-out, so interested donors must act quickly to sink a hole-in-one for science.


In addition to the March 5 benefit, Wade made a special appearance at the Science Center on March 6 for“Explorers’ Night Out,” a family event which served as an additional benefit.Wade’s presentation to families highlighted the importance of ecology and conservation.  Reaching children of all ages is a personal goal because, as he says, “they really get into strange names and obscure facts, becoming an ideal audience for conservation messages.”


“We were grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium’s growth with the re-opening of their Hall of Discovery and the introduction of plans for the miniature golf course – The Conservation Course,” said co-chair Frances Fisher.  “We were also grateful to Jeremy Wade for his compassion and interest in getting our children excited about conservation, as he was certainly a hit at our family-night benefit the following evening. I am thankful to our co-chairs and committee for all of their hard working planning not just one, but two successful benefits!”


Chairmen for the spring-time benefit included: Lew and Kathleen Crampton, Jeffrey and Frances Fisher, Benjamin and Elizabeth Gordon, Matthew and HeléneLorentzen and John and Heidi Niblack.  Host committee chairmen were: Howard Cox, Stuart and Allison Haft, Dr. Carter and AfsyPottash, Heath and Karly Randolph, Eric and Lucinda Stonestrom.  Stewardship council chairmen were Dale Hedrick and Harvey Oyer, III.


Conservationists sponsors included Lew and Kathleen Crampton, Frances and Jeffery Fisher and John and Heidi Niblack.  Preservationist sponsors included Benjamin and Elizabeth Gordon and Matthew HeléneLorentzen. Adventurists sponsors included Howard Cox, Stuart and Allison Haft and Gerald Seay and Pauline Pitt. Explorer sponsors included B/E Aerospace, Amin Khoury, Chairman; Hedrick Brothers, Dale and Kathy Hedrick; KLX, Amin Khoury, Chairman and CEO; James and Sara McCann; Modernizing Medicine, Dan Cane; and Sally and Bill Soter.Corporate sponsors were Barton & Gray, Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, PNC Private Bank and Saks Fifth Avenue Palm Beach. The media sponsor was Palm Beach Illustrated.


The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, named the 2014 Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches’ nonprofit of the year, features more than 50 hands-on educational exhibits, an 8,000 gallon fresh and salt water aquarium- featuring both local and exotic marine life, a digital planetarium, conservation research station, Florida exhibit hall and an interactive Everglades exhibit.  Afterlife: Tombs & Treasures of Ancient Egypt, the Science Center’s newest traveling exhibit, features more than 200 ancient and authentic artifacts.  All exhibits are on display during Afterlife’s special showing.  In true Science Center style, the highly anticipated blockbuster exhibition has interactive components, making it feel like guests have taken a trip to Egypt to explore ancient artifacts and tombs.


For more information about the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, please visit www.sfsciencecenter.org or call 561-832-1988. For more information about benefit events, mini-golf course sponsorships or how to get involved, please contact Marcy Hoffman, Director of Institutional Advancement at mhoffman@sfsciencecenter.org or 561-370-7738.  Like the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium on Facebook and follow it on Twitter @SFScienceCenter.