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Help Florida 'Save Our Shipwrecks'

August 5, 2010 - 6:00pm

The Florida Division of Historical Resources needs your help to save Floridas shipwrecks. To help Save Our Shipwrecks and make a positive difference in our coastal communities, please participate in the Pepsi Refresh Projects Do Good for the Gulf initiative. You have only to cast your vote for this important project.

In 2010, Pepsi is giving away millions of dollars to fund good ideas, big and small, that make the world a better place, refresh communities, and benefit others. Known as The Pepsi Refresh Project, this initiative provides $1.3 million in grant funds each month in support of ideas submitted and voted on by the public.In recognition of the significant challenges caused by the Gulf oil spill, Pepsi is giving away an extra $1.3 million toward ideas that benefit communities affected by the oil spill during the month of August.

Public voting began on Aug. 2 and runs through Aug. 31, so visit and cast your vote now.

The Florida Division of Historical Resources Save Our Shipwrecks project will preserve shipwrecks threatened and at risk because of the oil spill, enhance environmental restoration efforts in the Gulf, stimulate economic development in Floridas impacted coastal communities, and inspire and empower education and conservation through interactive learning opportunities.

Florida boasts thousands of distinctive and historically significant shipwrecks, ranging from the 1559 Emanuel Point wrecks off Pensacola, representing the site of two known Spanish vessels sunk during a storm, to the USS Narcissus, a Civil War-era Union tug boat that sank following an onboard explosion in 1865.

In the region immediately impacted by the oil spill, there are scores of shipwrecks, including more than 40 along the Florida Panhandle.Some of the wrecks are archaeological preserves, like the USS Massachusetts, the oldest existing American battleship. Others, like the USS Oriskany, a retired aircraft carrier, have become a Great Carrier Reef providing vitally important aquatic ecosystems and habitats for marine life. These sites are also popular destinations for fishermen, divers, historians and students, and as such are an important economic engine for coastal communities.

Accordingly, the Save Our Shipwreck project will preserve Floridas signature shipwrecks for future generations, produce a strategic plan for shipwreck-based environmental restoration efforts, generate school-based programs and exhibits, provide digital learning experiences for the general public, develop heritage and eco-tourism travel itineraries around the wrecks, and establish additional underwater archaeological preserves in Floridas Gulf Coast waters.

So, if you want to help preserve historic shipwrecks, enhance environmental restoration efforts, stimulate economic development in coastal communities, and inspire and empower educational and conservation initiatives, please go to and vote today.

The Florida Division of Historical Resources, a division of the Florida Department of State, provides leadership, technical assistance, and public grant support in the fields of historic preservation, archaeology and folklife.For more information on the Florida Division of Historical Resources, please visit To learn more about Floridas shipwreck preserves, please also visit

To Save Our Shipwrecks and help our coastal communities recover from the oil spill, we need your help and we need your vote, so, again, please visit today.

Scott Stroh is the director of the Florida Division of Historical Resources, a division of the Florida Department of State.

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