Creating Environmental Stewards – Ocean Kids 2018

On March 3rd, RECOVER participated in the annual Ocean Kids event at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. We collaborated with CARTHE and the Coastal modeling group, both supported by Gulf of Mexico Research Institute funding, as well as the Vizcaya Museum to present the “Go With the Flow” marine science station.

Ocean Kids, an event sponsored by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Atmospheric and Marine Science (RSMAS), works to educate underserved youth within the Miami area on marine science and ocean conservation. By creating an opportunity for K-12 students to learn about the environment around them, it is the hope that they will become ocean ambassadors and will want to educate others within their community.

Over 2,000 students, children and adults attended the event this year and had the opportunity to learn about a multitude of marine science based topics. Such topics included ocean currents, impacts of oil on marine fish species, shark biology and conservation, coral reef biology and restoration, climate change, and marine acoustics and noise pollution. Those that completed their “Adventure Pass”, by visiting four science and four art based stations, received a stainless steel reusable straw, to reduce plastic waste!

At the Go with the Flow station, visitors learned about ocean currents, what kinds of pollutants can be carried within those currents, and the impact that those pollutants have on the ecosystem and its inhabitants. With CARTHE, coastal modeling and Vizcaya, participants decorated drift cards, as well as created mini ocean currents within a container used to represent Earth and multi – colored beads were used to represent pollutants.

RECOVER brought the “inhabitants” of the station’s overall theme. Children and adults looked through microscopes to observe Mahi – Mahi embryos, which were collected at the UM Experimental Hatchery. Additionally, visitors at our station were able to practice their sustainable fishing skills to “catch” Mahi – Mahi and ask questions to learn more about their ecological importance. Everyone that came to the event walked away learning something new that they could pass on to their family, friends and neighbors.