Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves Continues “Bayologist” Camp

March.31.2015

Campers wading along shorelines to find seagrasses.

MIAMI – Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves’ five-day “Bayologist” camp teaches children the importance of the bay to plant and animal inhabitants. Through classroom and field activities and on-the-water experiences, children learn about Biscayne Bay’s unique ecosystems, species identification and the importance of clean water conditions.

Campers enjoyed boating trips, which included a visit to mangrove forests in Oleta River State Park, identification of bird species at a nearby rookery and an island-species scavenger hunt. Other outdoor activities included wading along shorelines to find seagrasses, using a seine net to collect fish species, utilizing scientific equipment to collect water quality samples and visiting a seabird rehabilitation center.

“Educating children about their natural environment in a way that they can understand is important because they will be the next generation to protect Biscayne Bay,” said Ecotourism Coordinator Michelle Metcalf. “We provide a one-on-one experience where campers learn the daily duties of a biologist.”

“This camp provides a unique opportunity for kids in our community to have access to one of the most protected estuaries in the state,” said Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves Manager, Pamela Sweeney. “Through our program, we provide a creative environment for learning to help foster interest in the sciences and instill a long-standing connection to the aquatic preserves.”

The Bayologist spring camp is the second in a series of three camps. The next camp will be offered during a summer session in June. Returning campers can earn a “Bayologist” degree after completing all three sessions consecutively. For more information, interested parents can email Michelle Metcalf at michelle.a.metcalf@dep.state.fl.us.

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