Don Childress announced the launch of The Childress Foundation and Research Group, Inc. (an applied for 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) to immediately and effectively take action to mitigate the lionfish invasion along the warmer regions of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Based in Gulf Shores, Alabama, The Childress Foundation and Research Group's mission is to promote and protect our marine environment by building awareness and promoting public engagement to address environmental issues.
A June 2008 nightly news segment about the increasing threat of the lionfish to the Eastern United States' coastal waters caught the immediate attention of lifelong maritime businessman Don Childress (President, Childress Marine, Inc.). The following day he described the grave segment to his assistant, Cheryl Ann Coddington. This aggressive fish with a mane of venomous spines that wrecks havoc on the natural lifecycles of reefs and surrounding sea life had clearly left an impression on Don and became a call to action. With the recent sightings of the predatory lionfish off the Alabama, Florida and Louisiana coasts, the time to act is now.
The Childress Foundation and Research Group will focus its efforts on three main issues: Lionfish, Importance of Estuaries and Tributaries, and Environmental Responsibility.
Don founded The Childress Foundation and Research Group after 40 years of maritime experience in tugboats and barges, scheduling crews and routes, and transporting fuel, oil, chemical, and hazardous materials for large corporations. Currently, he is the President of Childress Marine, Inc. (a company that builds and repairs vessels subject to United States Coast Guard inspection). He is a native of Gulf Shores, Alabama.