2024 talks take place at Pennekamp State Park

Chris Malinowski, director of research and conservation with Ocean First Institute, will discuss conservation issues affecting the local ecosystem through the lens of sharks and groupers at a March 20 lecture. CHRIS MALINOWSKI/Contributed

A popular nature lecture series returns to Key Largo on Feb. 7. Jack Stein, of the East Pacific Corridor Alliance Foundation, will kick off the 33rd season with a discussion on the diversification of fishes and the oceanic significance of the Isthmus of Panama. 

“Delicate Balance of Nature” lectures will resume its weekly in-person format every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Eight scheduled presentations will highlight coral reefs, dolphins, monarch butterflies and ecological gardening principles, among other topics, said Paul Rice, park manager. 

“One can learn about the conservation issues impacting coastal ecosystems, as well as how marine species use chemical signals for communication and defense. We are grateful to our speakers who make it possible for us to provide high-quality interpretive programs for the residents and visitors of Key Largo and the Florida Keys,” Rice said. 

Presentations are sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, as well as the Friends of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. The series will be held at the visitor center and aquarium building at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located at MM 102.6, oceanside. Since the talks begin after normal operating hours, the park gates will be opened at 7 p.m. for lecture attendees only, until the seating capacity of the visitor center is reached.

Visitors are advised to arrive on time since seating is limited in the auditorium, which is wheelchair accessible. Attendees may wish to bring a cushion for added comfort in seating. Temperatures in the auditorium fluctuate and a sweater or light jacket may be desired. Attendees are asked to accommodate those who are chemically sensitive by not wearing fragrances and other scented products. 

There is no charge to enter the park to attend the lectures.

For more information or additional accessibility needs, call Elena Muratori, park services specialist, at 305-676-3786. Visit for more information on Florida’s state parks.