Floating Classroom with Eco Scouts and Miami Yacht Club
D/Y River Queen
Biscayne Bay, Florida
September 7, 2023
On Thursday, September 7th, SeaKeepers Education partnered with Miami Yacht Club to host a group of 33 multi-age students and parents through the Eco Scouts Kids Conservation Club for homeschooled students from Jupiter, Florida, aboard DISCOVERY Yacht River Queen in Biscayne Bay. We were thrilled to have this trip be the first as part of a new partnership between The International SeaKeepers Society and Miami Yacht Club, a marina that shows dedication to working with community members and organizations like ours locally in Miami. Our Eco Scouts participants traveled a long way to join us on a floating classroom, so we were fortunate to be able to host them out of a venue like Miami Yacht Club. To begin our day, we joined River Queen and made our way up Biscayne Bay to the mouth of the Miami River while discussing how the local watershed functions and results in different types of pollution in the bay, as well as how it can impact local wildlife and public health. Once up the Miami River, students and parents were able to participate in water quality testing using our Earth Echo testing kits, which we use to discuss the changing conditions in the Bay and how those changes can impact the ecosystems there. One notable find from this round of tests was that dissolved oxygen concentrations in the Bay (which allows fish to breathe) were very low, around 2 parts per million (ppm) or less. Low dissolved oxygen can be the result of many variables, but persistent low-oxygenation in the Bay could be very harmful to aquatic wildlife and delicate estuarine ecosystems, so it is important that this is something we continue to monitor as an indicator of Biscayne Bay health. While evaluating our water tests, D/Y River Queen traveled back through the Bay to Parcel No. 4 Picnic Island, one of the most visited islands in Miami and one of the only that has city trash cans and removal services. Even so, in only 30 minutes, participants were able to collect 100.2 lbs of coastal debris that could have otherwise directly entered waterways! We finished the day with a wrap up discussion about how our daily choices can impact the world around us and the many different things that we as individuals can do to help keep wildlife and our planet healthy and thriving, including reducing our waste production, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, and following local environmental recommendations.
The goal of this floating classroom outing was to leave the Eco Scouts Kids Conservation Club and chaperones with a better understanding of what it means to live in an urban watershed like those in South Florida, and how pollution impacts our waterways, wildlife, and how we can prevent its creation in our everyday lives. We had such a great time and hope to continue our work with these organizations in the future!