3 To Know: UAE grants $3.5M for reef restoration, more

United Way Joins the Iconic Reefs Project

1. UAE grants $3.5M for reef restoration in Florida Keys

The government of the United Arab Emirates has granted a $3.5 million gift to help kick off a major coral reef restoration program in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

More:3 To Do: Imagination Ball, Butcher exhibit, more

The grant, announced Wednesday by officials of United Way of Collier and the Keys, is the first funding commitment of the $100 million Mission: Iconic Reefs program announced last December by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its Keys sanctuary.

The program, to be funded by public and private resources, calls for restoring seven iconic coral reef sites off the Keys consisting of nearly 3 million square feet of the Florida Reef Tract, about the size of 52 football fields. The effort is likely to take two decades and is to be accomplished in two phases, Sanctuary officials said.

The $3.5 million coral restoration gift is part of a $10 million pledge from the UAE to communities in Florida for recovery activities following Hurricane Irma. The United Way helped to secure the UAE financial gift for the Keys coral reef project.

2. Shell Club will hold our final Seminar

Marco Island Shell Club will hold its final seminar on Thursday, March 5.

Join the club to hear Jeannine Windsor and Savannah Lawson from the Rookery Bay Learning Center present “Discover Rookery Bay.”

More:WOW To Do List: Spaghetti dinner, Happy Hour for Hope, more

The seminar will start at 6 p.m. at the United Church of Marco, 320 N Barfield. All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

3. Lely grad Cantey to be honored by SEC

Former Lely High School and University of Kentucky tennis player Sarah Witten Cantey will be honored as part of the Southeastern Conference 2020 Class of Women’s Legends during the SEC women’s basketball tournament from March 4-8.

Witten Cantey played for the Wildcats from 2000-03, and is a member of the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame. She is the only player in UK women’s tennis history to earn three consecutive All-America selections (doubles in 2001-03). She is one of only two players with four career All-America accolades (singles in 2003 and doubles in 2001-03).

As a senior, Witten Cantey finished NCAA doubles runner-up. She led her team to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, advancing to the

Sweet 16 in 2002 and 2003. In the classroom, she was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll three years.