Former UNF director of coastal biology to present ‘Adapting to a Rising Ocean’ at Oceanwise 2017


Dr. Courtney Hackney, the former director of coastal biology at the University of North Florida, will serve as keynote speaker for the Sept. 30 Oceanwise 2017 event at the GTM Research Reserve Environmental Education Center, where he will deliver a presentation entitled "Adapting to a Rising Ocean."

The Ponte Vedra Beach-based event will also feature sustainable seafood and other locally-sourced dishes, fine wine and beer from local fine restaurants, a silent auction, entertainment and a view of the sun setting over the Guana River.

“Money raised from this event helps to fund ecological education programs for local youth, research by local and visiting scientists and stewardship of the reserve's landscape,” said Ellen Leroy-Reed, executive director of Friends of the GTM Reserve. “We are delighted Dr. Hackney agreed to be our keynote. In the past, he has partnered many UNF researchers on projects with the reserve, and he will have a lot to share."

Hackney was awarded emeritus status following his retirement from the University of North Florida. During his career, he published over 60 scientific papers and books on tidal marsh ecosystems or wetlands and a variety of subjects. Hackney is a past president of the Society of Wetland Scientists. He was also appointed to the North Carolina Coastal Resources Council by three North Carolina governors, and he received two appointments by President George W. Bush on the Environmental Advisory Board (EAB), during and after Hurricane Katrina.

This is the eighth annual Oceanwise benefit to be held at the GTM Research Reserve’s Environmental Education Center, located at 505 Guana River Road. Tickets cost $50 per person and can be purchased online at Those interested in sponsoring the fundraiser can contact Ellen Leroy-Reed at or call (904) 823-4527.