A manatee splashes in the Banana River during a field-guided boat tour of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As part of the center's first-ever Innovation Expo, the tour, called "Living Outdoor Laboratory for Environmental Sustainability," is giving employees the opportunity to see the unique estuarine ecosystems that are protected from development by the presence of Kennedy and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Manatees are one of the many threatened or endangered species that call the refuge home.
The diverse and healthy area encompassing about 140,000 acres of central Florida's east coast has been closed to the public for 50 years, allowing the coastal dunes, saltwater estuaries and marshes, freshwater impoundments, scrub, pine flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks to provide habitats for more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. Innovation Expo is showcasing the innovative work taking place throughout the center's facilities and labs to encourage employees to work together to solve future challenges. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy. Photo credit: NASA