Interview: Anthony Poponi, Local Knowledge

Local KnowledgeAre you interested in learning more about the natural areas in your own backyard but don’t know where to start? Then Local Knowledge is the guided nature tour service for you. Operating out of Indialantic, Local Knowledge offers fun trips into the outdoors for groups, families, and visitors to the central Florida area. Anthony Poponi runs Local Know, an outdoor tour company, offering hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and boating tours to guests of any interest level or age level.

“Through my company, I get a chance to give locals a different perspective on what’s in their own backyard and why it’s worth saving. I also get to show visitors what the “real” Florida is all about.”

Anthony has served as an educator for three years in the county. “It was a great way to inspire the county’s youth to think about what they want “their” county to be in the future. Serving on the Board of Directors for the Sea Turtle Preservation Society gives me a direct venue for educating children and adults about the plight of sea turtles and how humans impact these ancient creatures.”

We asked Anthony the following questions:

What makes Brevard special?
“Wow, so many things. Anthony begins. “The space program has brought so much in the way of industry — we’re fortunate to have their influence on our economy and the citizens they bring in. The ecosystems we have here are so diverse, from the Indian River, to the ocean, the St. John’s and all the lands in between there is such amazing diversity here. Our citizens are decent folks as well. Twice now they’ve voted in a referendum to buy more public lands for conservation. I know they would be willing to do so much more.”

What prevents Brevard from being all it could be?
“By and large we, the citizens do.” He replies. “We have the power to make this county move forward or to let it continue as it is. If we don’t want Brevard to look like West Palm then we need to step up and make our feelings heard, otherwise things will proceed as they are now.”

How can we address problems?
“Educating the public about the potential for destroying or permanently altering the remnants of our scrub, coastlines, wetlands, and shorelines. Providing viable alternatives to both citizens and developers for maintaining greenspaces and promoting smarter growth. Putting more money into education so we can reduce class sizes, hire the best teachers available, and keep them.”

Awareness and Education
“I’ve always strived to help others expand what they know about our environment. Not only for the purpose of promoting conservation but because there are so many amazing locations and events in this county from wildlife, to rivers, the ocean, and history. You can see so many things in just one day here. On one extraordinary day, I took my brother and his wife out and about and we saw a shuttle launch, manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, and a submarine. The loved it and I can’t think why anyone wouldn’t appreciate our wildlife and work towards preserving it.”

Primary guide and part-owner, Anthony Poponi said “I really like working with families and kids as much as adults. One thing we’ve done that’s a lot of fun is joining a family aboard their boat, and showing them things in their favorite spot they may never have noticed before. It really connects them with their area and they appreciate and understand a little more about what they see.”

Water BirdsWhile most guides are self-taught nature enthusiasts, Local Knowledge’s guides are well-trained researchers and educators making for the highest quality tours. Suzanne Dorsey, a part-owner and guide is a research and teaching professor, thinks there is a need for tours with a focus on educating the public. “We consider our services to be the premium guided services on the east coast of Florida since our guides have a level of knowledge on par with many scientists” says Dorsey. Each tour is highly interactive using hands-on demonstrations as starting points for discussions. Guests are encouraged to get involved by helping with measurements, recording results from demonstrations, and of course, asking questions. For this reason group sizes are kept to less than 8 people.

“We think of our tours as mini science lessons focusing on current techniques and methods used by researchers to study the habitats,” said Dorsey. But don’t worry, their trained guides make learning fun and interesting. These tours are great introductions to local ecosystems and the plants and animals inhabiting them. Florida is home to over 70 rare, threatened, or endangered species of plants and animals making any tour a unique experience.

Neil Eldridge, who recently went on a tour said, “I liked the tour because it was a great way to learn something you’d normally only learn by reading a book or watching a nature program. This was much more interesting since I felt like I was part of the nature program and now I understand the major influences on natural areas.”

“We provide a fun, interactive, educational activity where you learn while having a good time. We really like to have fun on our tours and that means our guests are having fun too,” says Dorsey.

For more information visit their website at or call Anthony at (321) 591-2516