Left: David Moore, District executive director, and Virginia Harrell unveil a plaque declaring the Roy G. Harrell, Jr. Education Station at Spa Beach. Right: Todd Pressman, Governing Board secretary and Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board co-chair ex officio, speaks about Harrell’s legacy as Sallie Parks, Governing Board member and Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board co-chair ex officio, and James E. Martin, former Governing Board chair, look on.
Visitors to The Pier Aquarium have a new opportunity to learn about Tampa Bay and its watershed.
The Roy G. Harrell, Jr. Education Station, located at The Pier Aquarium’s Spa Beach, was dedicated this June. The education station is a fully functional outdoor marine lab designed to promote knowledge and understanding about Tampa Bay and its watershed. Murals on the station’s walls illustrate the journey of a water drop through the watershed. Programs offered at the Education Station focus on the importance of wetlands, plants and animals in our coastal ecosystem and the Tampa Bay estuary.
The education station was named after Roy G. Harrell, Jr., a community leader in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area who was committed to water conservation and sustainability as well as the preservation and protection of our water resources.
Harrell was appointed to the District’s Governing Board in 1985 by Governor Bob Graham and served through February 1998. During his tenure, he served as Governing Board chair from April 1996 until February 1998.
“I did not know Roy Harrell, but after talking to several people, I learned that he was a man who thought big, acted on his beliefs and used his considerable charm and strength of personality to move projects past talk and into action,” said Todd Pressman, Governing Board secretary and co-chair ex officio of the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board.
Harrell was a driving force in the development of the District’s Partnership Agreement, which provides financial incentives to Tampa Bay Water to develop alternative water supplies. He was also a strong supporter of the District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Program and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.
Harrell considered The Pier Aquarium to be a great asset to the community and an ideal venue to reach out to children, adults and visitors.
The District provided $25,000 for support of the Education Station. The Pier Aquarium received additional funding from other sources.