About

We are a group of environmental scientists and researchers who provide key data to our partnering organizations as part of a combined effort to take actionable measures in preserving our coastline.

Our Mission

Mattie M. Kelly Environmental Institute empowers diverse communities with knowledge, confidence, and passion creating sustainable change, recognizing the balance between humans and nature. We promote experimental learning and applied research through collaborative innovation inspiring intentional action in the environmental sciences.

Our Team

The team at MKEI is made up of lab researchers, teachers, field technicians, coordinators, and volunteers — all of whom are committed to enriching our community through our three mission areas: Research, Teaching, and Outreach.

Our History

Mattie M. Kelly Environmental Institute at Northwest Florida State College is part of the Mattie M. Kelly Cultural and Environmental Institute designated by the late Mattie M. Kelly of Destin, Florida. MKEI is dedicated to the cultural, environmental, historical, and instructional goals set forth by Mattie M. Kelly.

Mattie M. Kelly was a native of Florida. She studied at Rollins College, but eventually earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Florida State University. She continued to study and enjoy learning opportunities at Columbia University’s AB College of Arts and Science, Harvard Summer School, and Okaloosa-Walton Junior College (now Northwest Florida State College).

Mattie and her husband, Coleman Lee Kelly, moved to Destin in 1935. The Kellys purchased forest along Choctawhatchee Bay and what is now Destin Harbor, and became known for their turpentine facility. Regarded as one of the town’s founding families, the Kellys were not just prominent local business owners, but also philanthropists. They are credited with initiating Destin’s tourism and fishing industries.

The Mattie M. Kelly Cultural and Environmental Institute at Northwest Florida State College was founded in 1997.

January Fish of the Month: Bluenose Shiner Pteronotropis welaka

January Fish of the Month: Bluenose Shiner Pteronotropis welaka Dr. Geoffrey Smith NWFSC Biology Instructor   The Bluenose Shiner is a small (maximum size of about 2 inches) freshwater species that is endemic to a few of the river drainages in the southeastern US. Endemic species, are organisms that have a very limited natural distribution…

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December Fish(es) of the Month: Gulf Flounder Paralichthys albigutta and Southern Flounder Paralichthys lethostigma

December Fish(es) of the Month: Gulf Flounder Paralichthys albigutta and Southern Flounder Paralichthys lethostigma Dr. Geoffrey Smith NWFSC Biology Instructor December 1st marks the reopening of harvest for these two species in Florida’s waters. The Gulf and Southern Flounder are very similar in appearance and life history characteristics, hence their management as a single species…

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We build capacity to inspire global, environmental agents of change.