Category Archives: Communications Corner

Public Information Requests

Public records are delineated in Chapter 119 in the Florida Statutes and FWC is mandated to comply with these requests. If you should get a request for records and the information is readily available and will not take longer than 30 minutes to complete you may provide these records to the person requesting them.  As long as these records do not contain information that needs to be redacted (proprietary, personal health information, social security numbers, etc.). If you are not sure if it contains information that needs to be redacted send it to Kelly Richmond and she can review it for you.

Kelly Richmond is your FWRI contact for public records requests. If a request is entered into our tracking system she is notified and will coordinate the request with you. However, many of you are contacted individually for data and information. We are required to acknowledge receipt of the request immediately but if it takes you longer than 30 minutes to complete the request then please let Kelly know and she can get everything entered into our tracking system. We are required to complete these requests in a reasonable time without unnecessary delay but different requests take varying times to complete.

Attached is the public records training PowerPoint. It will go over what is a public record and was it not a record. Please be sure to see the slide on what we are NOT required to do if we should receive a public records request.

Please email Kelly Richmond if you have any questions.

Film Contracts Q&A

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requires all film producers to sign a contractual agreement before FWC staff complete interviews on camera for a private production. Please use the following information as a guide for any filming agreement.

What circumstances require an FWC filming contract?
The agency requires a contract if a private, commercial entity is producing a non-news project in which FWC staff will be interviewed; some examples include documentaries (even if produced for a news network), TV series and student films. News stories for accredited news organizations would not require a contract. Working with another government agency or non-profit partner on a film project for their own use would not require a contract unless the piece will be used commercially and is produced by a commercial production company. Sometimes the nature of these requests is not immediately clear. When in doubt, contact your FWRI Communications staff or Community Relations Office to assist you.

How far in advance should a filming contract be in place?
It can often take several weeks (depending upon different factors like the complexity of the contract) for a contract to be finalized and in place. Please plan for a minimum of one month from the time the request comes in until the day of filming to finalize a contract.

Who should I contact if a production company requests to film me?First, contact Michelle Kerr in the FWRI communications office. She will work with Katie Purcell, the Assistant Director of the Community Relations Office, who is the lead contact for coordinating filming contracts statewide. Together, we will discuss the request with you and leadership to determine if it’s something we are interested in and able to accommodate. Additionally, Katie and Michelle will pull in staff from other divisions if needed.

How is a decision made to pursue a proposed filming project?
Factors considered are the production company’s past work, the message they intend to promote, what resources they need of the FWC, and their anticipated timeline. If the project is believed to be a good fit for the FWC, Katie will route a contract to be signed by both parties – the FWC and the production company.

Is the FWC involved in the editing or production?
Our contract stipulates that we have the right to review all footage prior to distribution. Katie and Michelle will work with the staff member(s) interviewed as well as any appropriate subject matter experts or leadership to review the footage for accuracy, tone, etc.

Communications and Outreach at FWRI

We’ve been busy!

In July 2016, we were awarded first place by the Association for Conservation Information (ACI)  in the category of internal communications for the Field Notes newsletter. This was possible through the help of staff who contribute content for Field Notes every quarter. Please continue sending us your photos, videos and articles or invite us in the field with you so that we can continue to promote your research.

We had some changes within the Outreach family that include two new additions to our amazing team.

With the many transitions that have happened, we felt it was time to reintroduce the FWRI Communications and Outreach office so that we may better serve our fellow staff members.

Your Communications and Outreach Team:

Kelly Richmond
Operations Management Consultant
Ask me about
ommunications strategy and management

Jessica Pernell
Graphics Consultant
Ask me about
Graphic design; MarineQuest

Michelle Kerr
Public Information Specialist
Ask me about
Media/public relations, photos, video production

Bradley Walker
Information Specialist/Social Media Coordinator
Ask me about
Social media outreach; Video editing; Multimedia

Jessica Prakke
Communications Specialist
Ask me about
Web Updates; Field Notes; Monthly Newsletters

Kim Rousseau
Outreach and Communications Specialist
Ask me about
ANYTHING and I’ll find out for you!

(From Left to Right) Kelly Richmond, Jessica Pernell, Bradley Walker, Michelle Kerr, Kimberly Rousseau, Jessica Prakke

Communications Corner

MarineQuest is the FWRI’s annual open house that gives the public the chance to tour the FWRI building and learn more about our research, and it is quickly approaching. Currently, there are over 1,800 students and chaperones from 28 schools signed up for our School Daze program on October 20 and 21. We are open to the public Saturday, October 22.

Our staff is a large part of MarineQuest’s success and we need your help again this year to succeed. Be sure to sign up for your School Daze tour on Thursday and Friday, sign up for one of our volunteer opportunities with the Kids Zone, School Daze, parking, and more, share FWRI’s Social Media pages, and come by Outreach to grab posters and postcards to pass out. Don’t forget to bring your friends, family and neighbors to enjoy this day of fun.Web

This is FWRI’s time to shine and show the community who we are and what our research is about.

Tagging and
Tracking Manatees

researchers pulling manatee onto boat
After a health assessment and tagging, the manatee is released from the capture boat. Depending on the design of the study, individuals can be tracked for a couple of months to a couple of years. FWC photo taken by Mary Jo Melichercik in Titusville, Florida. Activities were conducted under the USFWS permit #MA773494


FWC researchers have been tracking manatees in Florida’s waterways for much of the past 25 years.  A satellite-linked Global Positioning System (GPS) radio-tag is attached to a padded belt around the manatee’s tail via a flexible tether.  The GPS-transmitted locations provide a detailed record of the manatee’s movements and habitat use in close to real time.  These data are used to answer specific research questions of importance to conservation and management of this endangered species.  The new 2016-2017 manatee decal design highlights this research conducted by FWRI.  Because the floating GPS radio-tags can look similar to crab trap buoys, tagged manatees are often mistaken for entangled manatees.  Although the tagging gear does not harm the manatee, entanglements in fishing gear can cause severe injury or even death.  Public reports of these two very different manatee sightings make a difference; please report tagged manatees, entangled manatees or any other injury to FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline (1-888-404-FWCC).

To learn more about manatee radiotelemetry research visit the FWRI Web section and view photos of this research in the new Flickr album:

manatee decal

To order a manatee decal visit:

Be sure to join us on all our social media channels.
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Flickr | YouTube

View an archive of past “Communications Corner” articles

Bonefish Research

Dr. Liz Wallace is working closely with partners at the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, Cape Eleuthera Institute and Fisheries Conservation Foundation to study population connectivity between bonefish in Florida, The Bahamas and across the Caribbean. Since this project began, the communications team has teamed up with Liz to share project updates, photos and videos with anglers and the general public using social media and the FWRI website. Angler outreach and education is an important part of this study, and our online efforts aim to inform anglers and encourage them to get involved by collecting bonefish fin clips for ongoing genetics research. The data collected during this study will ultimately benefit the fishery, and our team will continue working with researchers to fulfill their outreach needs for this project.

The following is a sample of posts created by the Communications Office to promote this project.

FWRI Website
Bonefish at

On Facebook
February 29, 2016
October 6, 2015
May 29, 2015
May 4, 2015

On Flickr
Bonefish Genetics Research in Andros, Bahamas – February 2016
Bonefish Genetics Research – June 2015
Bonefish Genetics Research in Grand Bahama – April 2015

On Instagram


Be sure to join us on all our social media channels.
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Flickr | YouTube

Programs Document

Document cover
The cover for this year’s document was created by FWRI staff member Robert Lasley.

2015-2016 Programs of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

Each year, the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute produces a summary of its programs. The 2015-2016 FWRI Science Programs document provides an overview of our major programs to enhance understanding of the scope and purpose of the technical information we produce. The document also provides budget information, as well as listings of publications and partnerships for the current fiscal year.

You can read this publication online or download a PDF version from our website.


View an archive of past “Communications Corner” articles

Highlighting habitat restoration

by Bradley Walker

One of our upland habitat research flagship programs, the Native Groundcover Restoration (NGCR) Program, began working on a restoration site in Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area in 2008.
The Native Groundcover Restoration Program is a collaborative effort between FWRI and the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation – specifically the Wildlife Management Area system.

We recently began a new project with our upland habitat research section to highlight their habitat restoration work at various Wildlife Management Areas around the state. Our first habitat restoration feature is an ongoing project at Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area in Osceola County. The Native Groundcover Restoration program began working at this restoration site in 2005, and since then it has transformed from an “improved pasture” with no value as wildlife habitat to a site filled with native plants and groundcover that provide food and cover for many native wildlife species. Our Flickr set breaks down the restoration process, and includes some great photos taken at the Three Lakes site: