First Monthly Pelican Harbor Cleanup
North Miami, Florida
March 18, 2023
On Saturday, March 18th, 2023, The International SeaKeepers Society was ecstatic to complete our “trial run” of cleaning up Pelican Island, a 10-acre man-made picnic island accessible by boat in the Biscayne Bay. Located just a minute or two away from the Pelican Harbor Marina, this site was in dire need of adoption, and it is safe to say that SeaKeepers has made the cut.
Our first time cleaning the area (although the Pelican Island Skipper faced mechanical issues and our volunteers had to stay around the marina and boat ramp) was a huge success with 87 students and community members showing up to give the area a lot of love - in the form of 197.4 pounds of trash cleared away! We are so excited to be officially adopting this site which is close to our hearts, as it is where we have departed from, as well as have cleaned, as part of our floating classroom programming for the past 2 years. Pelican Island faces pollution threats both from boaters that litter in the Bay, as well as picnickers who leave their trash behind. No one is available to routinely collect trash from the picnic islands, and as a result many islands, like Pelican Island, simply do not have trash cans. Often bottles, cutlery, plates and cups as well as charcoal, cigarettes and various other litter items are left on the island and will only be picked up by volunteers. We couldn’t be happier that we are going to be the ones seeing this effort through for the next 12 months. Thank you to Miami-Dade Parks for facilitating this adoption, and we look forward to seeing you all back at Pelican Harbor next month.
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, 1% of volunteers participated in using the app to record data.