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.

MKEI Awarded Research Grant

BIG NEWS! We’re thrilled to announce MKEI has earned a Research Grant Award from The Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS)!!! Through this grant, we will work to leverage and supplement existing data resources on Floridian carnivorous plant communities through data mining and field-based surveys. Floridian carnivorous plants represent a hotspot of biodiversity, but, community-level data…

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MKEI hosted a webinar on Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Central America presented by Marina De León, M.S., Ph.D. candidate, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at University of California, Davis. Marina E. De León is a doctoral researcher in Jonathan A. Eisen’s lab at the University of California, Davis. Her primary research focuses on chytridiomycosis in amphibians and…

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