Baynanza Celebration 2023
April 15, 2023
On Saturday, April 15th, 2023, The International SeaKeepers Society participated in Miami-Dade County’s 41st “Baynanza,” a celebration of Biscayne Bay and its significance as one of the most important ecological systems in South Florida. This weekend the celebration culminated in Biscayne Bay Cleanup Day, where SeaKeepers was able to co-host a cleanup at one of our favorite sites - Morningside Park - with our friends from Miami Waterkeeper and Ballyhoo Media. Saturday’s cleanup was one of 31 different cleanups happening simultaneously at different shoreline sites around Biscayne Bay. 278 volunteers came to clean up Morningside Park and the surrounding picnic islands, and picked up an incredible amount of trash. Some volunteers brought their own personal boats, and were helping fellow participants cross the Bay to clean up the picnic islands. There were 12 vessels that came to help out with the cleanup efforts on the islands! Others paddled or kayaked to join in on the island cleanups. SeaKeepers weighed 46 bags totalling 324 pounds of trash collected at the park, and some volunteers estimated the trash collected on the islands to be at about 200-300 pounds! We are so proud of all of our volunteers and couldn’t have asked for a better group to celebrate our beautiful backyard with. As always thanks to Miami Waterkeeper and Ballyhoo Media for co-hosting with us, and we hope to see everyone at many more Baynanzas!
Marine Debris Tracker is a data collection app that allows the general public to contribute to an open-date platform and scientific research by recording the different types of litter, specifically plastic pollution, that they find in either inland or marine environments. Marine Debris Tracker was developed by the University of Georgia’s Jambeck Research Group, which SeaKeepers worked with in 2021 when the Jambeck Research Group collaborated with Ocean Conservancy to assess Miami’s plastic waste management, known as a Circularity Assessment Protocol. SeaKeepers again assisted the Jambeck Research Group’s Circularity Informatics Lab in 2022 with another Circularity Assessment Protocol in the Florida Keys. The researchers of the Jambeck Lab use the Marine Debris Tracker app to record their data, and with citizen scientists also using the app, more data can be collected in different areas. Using Marine Debris Tracker at our cleanups involves community members in creating a bigger picture of plastic pollution, and provides the means for new scientific findings to be generated as well as for effective local legislation to be informed. SeaKeepers is excited to be incorporating this app at our cleanups and continue our mission of coastal education, protection, and restoration. In this cleanup, 38% of volunteers participated in using the app to record data.