Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves' Education and Outreach Program consists of three target audiences - adults, youth, and educators.
Adults are taught about bay area habitats and species through public presentation forums throughout the year as well as team-taught coursework such as the 40-hour Florida Master Naturalist Courses.
Educators participate in workshops about Biscayne Bay that emphasize how they can bring Biscayne Bay into their classrooms. This "Train-the-Trainer" program has a multiplier effect for the aquatic preserve. Miami-Dade College faculty and staff participated in this program through their Environmental Ethics Center. Goals are to expand the Biscayne Bay specific curricula and to offer trainings for primary and secondary educators. Additional materials need to be adapted to Biscayne Bay, including translations into Spanish and Creole, hopefully with the help of knowledgeable interns or volunteers.
Youth receive "hands-on" training by aquatic preserve staff with water quality or weather instruments along with specimen collection methods at the BBEC. This youth program arose from partnering with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden on their Challenge program. The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Challenge began in 2002 to foster Miami-Dade County student interest in the environment and grew from 1,400 students to 25,000 participants in its first five years. BBAP participates in the Environmental Immersion Day program where students spend the full day learning about aquatic preserve management tasks.
Community engagement is achieved through participation of staff on teams and advisory panels and at neighborhood special events. BBAP personnel and volunteers have participated in events across Miami-Dade County within recent years. These presentations can be arranged in response to an invitation from an organization, such as a garden club or civic association, or in coordination with a community-centered event, including "Baynanza" which coincides with Seagrass Awareness Month in March BBAP staff also host a site for the International Coastal Cleanup at Biscayne Bay Environmental Center and Pelican Harbor Marina.
BBAP staff have partnered with local radio and television stations to try to increase appreciation and awareness of Biscayne Bay's natural resources with public service announcements and special programs. In 2010, Public Broadcasting Service's "Changing Seas" national program featured BBAP and Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in its production titled "Seagrasses and Mangroves." The discussion included the ecological services and economic importance of seagrasses and mangroves, as well as the effects of sea level rise on these submerged resources.
Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve is featured in a documentary produced by the City of Miami - Think Green: Preserving Biscayne Bay.
March 3, 2020 - 10:37am
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.