Junior SeaKeepers Floating Classroom 2

Miami, Florida
March 3, 2024


On Sunday, March 3, 2024, SeaKeepers Education hosted 6 of our 20 Junior Seakeepers 23-24 cohort students on a kayak floating classroom out of Morningside Park thanks to our partners at Morningside Watersports. To begin our day, we hopped in our tandem kayaks and set course for some of the local picnic islands near Morningside Park. On our way, we identified potential sources of pollution in this region of the Bay while also noting our observations on the water quality, which we supported using our Earth Echo testing kits. We were not so thrilled to see that March has already brought much warmer than seasonally average temperatures to Biscayne Bay, with our temperature reading coming out to about 26-27C, or about 80F. To accompany this, we also saw low dissolved oxygen concentrations in the Bay (~1ppm) for the third week in a row. In combination with rising water temperatures and increased potential for pollution events as we get into the Miami spring, we discussed with students why these conditions present a concern for algal blooms and fish kills that can cause significant damage to the Bay's ecology. Following our water testing, our Junior SeaKeepers were able to kayak around one of the picnic islands that has been named a bird nesting sanctuary as a part of the Morningside Rookery. We were so lucky to see some incredible local bird species like cormorants, osprey, and magnificent frigate birds building nests and sunning in the large mangrove trees that make up the island. From there, our Junior SeaKeepers navigated to two other small picnic islands off of Morningside Park to explore the ecosystem and remove any marine debris that might have washed onto the shorelines or been left by previous visitors. Even on these short cleanups, our students were able to collect almost 6lbs of debris, mostly comprised of small things like bottle caps, plastic straws, and plastic grocery bags, all of which can pose a significant survival risk for the wildlife in the Bay, especially the birds present in the Morningside Rookery.

Outing Goal

By attending floating classroom outings, Junior SeaKeepers can take lessons they are learning from webinars, workshops, and cleanups and apply them directly to the local natural environment. In this floating classroom, we hope students were able to better understand the value that Biscayne Bay holds as a wildlife refuge that supports hundreds of unique South Florida species. As always, we aim for students to leave experiences with us with a better understanding of how their everyday choices impact the world around them, and, therefore, how their conscious actions every day can create a better natural world for their future.

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