Tropical Storm Eta’s winds brought a large billboard down in Key Largo. KEYS WEEKLY FILE PHOTO

The 32nd annual lecture series, The Delicate Balance of Nature, returns to its in-person venue in Key Largo with a lecture that delves into the correlation between climate change and the impacts of tropical storm and lower-end hurricanes in the Florida Keys.

Nancy Barnhardt, of the Florida Keys National Weather Service in Key West, will serve as guest speaker on Wednesday, March 22 at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the lecture beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The duration, speed, size, and direction all play a part in how a storm impacts the Florida Keys. With sea level rise and king tides already affecting coastal flooding, storm surge and additional flooding is a major concern. A longer-duration, weaker storm, which is becoming more prevalent, may be able to produce damage similar to a faster-moving, stronger storm. Barnhardt will address these concerns.

The lecture is sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. Attendees can view the lecture in-person at the Visitor Center and Aquarium Auditorium at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It will also be offered virtually on Zoom, sponsored by the Friends of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park.

Reserved advance seating is available to Friends members, and everyone is invited to join and support the Key Largo Florida State Parks. Early Zoom registration is also offered to members. For more information on the Friends and to join online, visit:

There is no cost to enter the park for the lecture series. Seating is limited, so it is recommended that visitors arrive on time to be assured a seat in the wheelchair-accessible auditorium.

Attendees may wish to bring a cushion for added seating comfort. Temperatures in the auditorium vary and a sweater or light jacket may be desired. Please help us to accommodate those who are chemically sensitive by not wearing fragrances or other scented products.

To attend this event virtually, registration is required. The Zoom format creates the opportunity for others to attend, but it will be a limited audience (100 online participants). Please plan to sign on a few minutes in advance of the presentation to ensure your inclusion in the list of attendees. Information to register will be available on the Friends web page: Click on the event shown on the calendar.

For more information or accessibility needs, contact Elena Muratori, park services specialist, at 305-676-3786. For more information on Florida’s State Parks, visit