Marine Mammals Conservancy in Florida Keys plans to expand

The all-volunteer Marine Mammal Conservancy, which began as the Pod Squad, is known for its efforts over 22 years to rehabilitate about 330 injured and stranded whales and dolphins in the Florida Keys.

But for the past four years, it didn't know if it would become homeless. That changed in December, when the nonprofit conservancy won a four-year legal battle to purchase 2 ¼ acres with a canal and bayside lagoon that it had been leasing since 1995 in Key Largo.

After it closes on the property March 11, the nonprofit conservancy will move forward with plans to become a world-class research center. The conservancy plans to also build dorms for visiting students and researchers, a museum and conference center.