Floating Classroom with Surf Skate Science
December 7, 2023
On Thursday, December 7th, The International SeaKeepers Society hosted 24 students and chaperones from Surf Skate Science for our last floating classroom of 2023! Surf Skate Science, an established partner of SeaKeepers, is a homeschool co-op and educational program that focuses on hands-on learning of STEAM content through sports. We met with our SeaKeepers for the day at Bill Bird Marina, where we boarded DISCOVERY Yacht River Queen. We headed South in the bay while our Education Manager, Toni, spoke about Biscayne Bay’s function as Miami’s watershed, and the impact of urbanization and pollution on the health of the bay. Water quality concepts were introduced, and we discussed the implications of parameters such as salinity and the presence of pollutants like microplastics or oil. Although we can’t test for these parameters, we can use our Earth Echo water testing kits to give the students an introduction to the scientific method. Using these kits, students split into groups and performed tests for temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen level and turbidity using a bucket of water our captain took from the bay. Today was a chilly day for Miami, the water temperature was around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. There were some inconsistencies between each group’s results, which we expect in science and we can correct by performing multiple trials and averaging our values. Based on the tests performed, the average turbidity was 0 JTU, the pH was about 8 and the dissolved oxygen level was about 2 ppm. We discussed what these values tell us about the health of the bay as we headed over to Sandspur Island for a coastal cleanup. After collecting 21.5 lbs of debris from the island, we headed back to Bill Bird Marina while Community Engagement Associate, Lillian, started a conversation about what types of items the students found, what sustainable alternatives there may be, and the threats marine debris poses to our ocean. We are so grateful to the students and chaperones of Surf Skate Science for joining us today and for their commitment to ocean conservation! We look forward to resuming our Floating Classroom programs in January.
To enhance the knowledge of the students from Surf Skate Science about our urban watershed, sources of ocean pollution, and their impact on water quality.