One of our underlying goals at Miami Waterkeeper is to make meaningful connections between people and the water surrounding their communities. To accomplish this goal we seek creative ways for members of our community here in South Florida, particularly youth, to engage in water related education in order to foster environmental stewardship and advocacy. In doing so, we often find amazing partners like Seakeepers to help us reach these goals!
The International SeaKeepers Society supports marine science and conservation by utilizing privately owned water vessels as platforms for oceanographic research, educational outreach, and marine conservation. Their efforts eliminate vessel costs and permit marine science educators to connect youth and society to the water. With their help, we were able to implement a string of opportunities for both our Miami Waterkeeper Junior Ambassadors as well as a group of students from Hialeah High School in February!
Miami Waterkeeper is dedicated to ensuring clean water through research, advocacy, and community education. To hone in on our mission, we connected 38 students to Biscayne Bay with a field expedition conducting water quality assessments and learning more about pollution threats in Biscayne Bay.
One of our first stops after leaving Pelican Harbor Marina aboard the Seakeepers vessel was the mouth of the Little River. This river is notorious for poor water quality and is also in close proximity to one of the schools, Hialeah High School, that participated on the second expedition. This exercise helped connect the students, who attend this farther inland school, to the Bay, showcasing how their actions on land have an effect on the health of nearshore ecosystems.
During the water quality testing students took measurements like pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature to better understand the dynamics of our water. These measurements can point to possible water quality issues like algae blooms, sediment in the water, chemical leaks, and anoxic environments (caused by high algae numbers).
After testing the water quality, we headed to Pelican Island to conduct a coastal clean up and to educate the students on the effects of plastics on local fauna. We learned about coastal restoration and invasive species and how all of this on top of poor water quality is decreasing the health of Biscayne Bay. The students all left with a sense of how to help minimize their own impact on the Bay. Collectively both groups of students collected over 150 pounds of marine debris!
All of us at Miami Waterkeeper are so proud to offer these experiences to our communities. We value our partnership with The International Seakeepers Society and look forward to more expeditions in the future! We also want to thank Fleet Miami for providing us with the platform for the floating classroom.
If you think your school or youth group would like to get involved with Miami Waterkeeper’s educational opportunities, please reach out to [email protected] to learn more!