On March 1st, the University of Miami Rosenstiel School held its annual Ocean Kids event on the Key Biscayne campus. Two hundred students from four different elementary schools in the surrounding Miami Dade communities visited the campus and its various research groups for a day filled with marine science and conservation.
Since 2016, RECOVER has participated in the Ocean Kids event which was founded by the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School Marine and Atmospheric Science professor Dr. Jill Richardson in 2008. The mission of Ocean Kids is to connect research groups, labs and scientists at the University to students from the surrounding underserved greater Miami Dade County communities so that we may be able to share our research and passion of marine science and conservation through hands-on STEM-based activities.
At this year’s event, RECOVER’s Dr. Christina Pasparakis and outreach coordinator Ally Karaczynski, along with lead PI Dr. Martin Grosell’s Ph.D. student LeeAnn Frank, manned a table in collaboration with the University of Miami Experimental Hatchery. Students used microscopes to look at mahi-mahi embryos, worked in teams to hypothesize where two oil samples were collected – either from the source of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill event or from the surface of the water, learned about RECOVER research, mahi-mahi biology as well as the research being conducted with pop – up satellite archival tags. Both Dr. Pasparakis and LeeAnn were impressed with the question’s students were asking regarding mahi-mahi and our research. Each student walked away with a RECOVER sticker, tattoo and informational postcard with the “homework” of teaching someone at home something new they learned about marine science and research.
Since its creation, Ocean Kids has reached over 2,000 K-12 students from the underserved education districts in the greater Miami – Dade communities. As in year’s past, RECOVER was honored to be able to bring marine science, research, and conservation to students that may not otherwise have been able to have the opportunity.
To find out more about Ocean Kids, please visit their website, here.