Sunrise Rotary Vero Beach awards 3rd annual environmental scholarship

Sunrise Rotary Vero Beach awarded its third annual Environmental scholarship this month, named after the late Sunrise Rotary member Paul Dritenbas.

Paul was an architect, boat captain, and a champion of the Indian River Lagoon. He established the Lagoon Oyster Mat project and designed buoys that withstand storm surges, which currently mark and protect submerged sea grass areas (RISSA) in the lagoon.

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute was again chosen to award the scholarship and search for worthy candidates. The applications were reviewed and judged by the Sunrise Rotary Scholarship Committee, which included Paul’s wife, Cathy.

Michelle Edwards, the 2019 recipient of the Paul Dritenbas Memorial Scholarship, is a Master’s student at Florida Atlantic University working in Dr. Matthew Ajemian’s Fisheries Ecology and Conservation Laboratory at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.

Edward’s project focuses on the effects of harmful algal bloom toxins on bull sharks in the Indian River Lagoon, to include toxicology and ecology of the IRL system. Funding from this fellowship will help support her in this important research.

This scholarship will continue to be funded in the future through proceeds from the Florida Craft Brew & Wing Fest event, of which Paul Dritenbas was the founding member.

The ninth annual Florida Craft Brew & Wing Fest will be Feb. 15, 2020, at Royal Palm Point, Vero Beach. To learn more about the event please visit and to learn more about Sunrise Rotary Vero Beach visit

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