Floating Classroom with Us-School Microschool
October 17, 2023
On Tuesday, October 17th, The International SeaKeepers Society hosted 9 students and 7 parents from Us-School Microschool for a floating classroom on Biscayne Bay. We boarded our trusty DISCOVERY Yacht River Queen at Bill Bird Marina and headed out into the bay while discussing the history of the Everglades and their contribution of freshwater to Biscayne Bay. We began to head into the Oleta River and identified some sources of pollution to Biscayne Bay, including oil and gas pollution, fertilizer runoff that causes Harmful Algal Blooms, and marine debris such as plastic. As we made our way along the Oleta River, the students were encouraged to observe the river’s appearance and asked how it may differ from Biscayne Bay. We filled a bucket with water from the river and introduced our activity, water quality testing using our EarthEcho kits. We discussed the significance of the parameters we would be testing for; pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and temperature. The students split into groups of three and we conducted our tests using the river water sample and compared our values. Today we found a water temperature of about 73 degrees Fahrenheit, a dissolved oxygen level of about 2 ppm, a turbidity of 0 JTU, and a pH of about 7.5. We were surprised to see how cool the water temperature was, and that the dissolved oxygen level was so low, as colder water typically has a higher affinity for oxygen. We ended our day with a cleanup on Sandspur Island, and within 30 minutes we picked up over 30 pounds of trash! As we headed back to the marina we talked about the most common items we saw and ways that we can reduce the amount of trash that is ending up in the bay by making some lifestyle changes. We are grateful to Us-School Microschool for joining us today, and to D/Y River Queen for making it happen!
To allow students from Us-School Microschool to experience Biscayne Bay and learn about ocean ecology and chemistry and the risks of ocean pollution.