Floating Classroom with Belen Jesuit Preparatory School
DISCOVERY Yacht River Queen
Biscayne Bay, Florida
March 14-15, 2023
On Tuesday, March 14th, 2023, and Wednesday, March 15th, 2023, The International SeaKeepers Society hosted floating classrooms and coastal cleanups for two groups of juniors from Belen Jesuit Preparatory School as a part of their week of local service. Between the two trips, we hosted 60 students from aboard DISCOVERY Yacht River Queen in our beloved Biscayne Bay. We met our students and chaperones at Pelican Harbor Marina and made our way down Biscayne Bay to the mouth of Little River while discussing how the local watershed functions and results in different types of pollution in the bay. Using EarthEcho kits, students and chaperones had the opportunity to get their hands on some real science by measuring water quality parameters temperature, turbidity, pH, and dissolved oxygen level and hypothesizing why these parameters may change throughout the Bay. Following our water quality testing and watershed discussion, we brought the Belen students to Pelican Island, a local, man-made picnic island in the Bay, and had a beach cleanup where we enthusiastically collected over 75 pounds of trash and made sightings of spotted sea hares and several upside-down jellyfish on the shoreline! We finished up our floating classroom by identifying the most common (and uncommon) types of trash we found and how we could prevent those types of materials from entering the environment as a result of our everyday choices.
The juniors of Belen Jesuit were such a pleasure to work with and we are happy to be able to take another group of local students out on the water with the invaluable help of our DISCOVERY Yacht River Queen. We hope that these students were able to leave the floating classroom with a better understanding of how pollution impacts our waterways and how we can prevent different types of pollution in our everyday lives. We had such a great time and hope to host Belen Jesuit again in the future!