VERO BEACH — Sunrise Rotary Vero Beach awarded its 2nd annual environmental scholarship this October, named after the late Sunrise Rotary member Paul Dritenbas. Paul was a champion for 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 in the lagoon.

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute was chosen again 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.

Amelia “Grace” Roskar, the 2018 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.

Roskar’s project focuses on the elasmobranchs, or sharks and rays, in the southern Indian River Lagoon, from Sebastian Inlet to St. Lucie Inlet. This scholarship will allow Grace to fully devote her time to continued sampling efforts in the southern Indian River Lagoon to understand the composition, spatial and temporal dynamics, and microbiological health of the shark and ray communities in this region.

This scholarship will be funded in the future through proceeds of the Florida Craft Brew and Wing Fest, of which Paul Dritenbas was the founding member. The eighth annual Florida Craft Brew and Wing Fest will be Feb. 16, 2019, at Royal Palm Park Vero Beach.

For more information on Sunrise Rotary visit or come to a weekly meeting at the Riverhouse located at 305 Acacia Dr. on the Lagoon near the dog park any Wednesday morning at 7 a.m.

This article was distributed through Treasure Coast Business, a news service for the readers and advertisers of Indian River Magazine.