To celebrate Earth Day, COSEEMIA decided to highlight some of the fantastic parks that surround Miami. Crandon Park is a Miami-Dade County park that is known for having sea turtles nest on it’s beaches every year. The work done in this park is crucial to the conservation of these endangered species. The Everglades National Park is a federally designated space that protects Florida’s “River of Grass” that is not only home to many endangered species, but also part of Miami’s drinking water.
Joining us as we celebrated Miami for Earth Day was Vita Coco with a free sampling station for everyone to enjoy! Our first speaker was Alex Martinez Recreational Specialist 1, from Crandon Park Visitors and Nature Center EcoAdventures who educated us on sea turtle nesting and other activities that occur in the park. Our second speaker Larry Perez, author and Science Communications Liaison for the Everglades National Park educated us on the importance of the Everglades nationally and internationally.
All of the sea turtles that visit and nest in Miami are endangered. Alex Martinez shared the biggest threats to sea turtles were vulnerabilities during nesting and motorboat accidents. When sea turtles come to nest, some people can scare the pregnant females away trying to take pictures and interact with her. If she is too stressed she will eventually drop the eggs in the ocean, which will drown all the eggs. If the eggs have been safely placed in a nest, Crandon Park staff and volunteers work hard to ensure the nests are protected. They then track all the nests and watch for hatchlings. Even once an egg has successfully hatched, the baby sea turtle still has to find it’s way safely to the ocean. City lights can often confuse them since they think it is the light of the moon reflecting off the ocean, if they go the wrong way they can get hit by cars and die. Crandon Park staff goes out and catch all the hatchlings as they leave the nest so they can later be released into the ocean safely.
As part of Earth Day 2015, President Barack Obama made a very special trip to the Everglades National Park. Our guest speaker Larry Perez was able to meet with President Obama and Bill Nye right before he joined us for our COSEEMIA Earth Day celebration. Larry filled us in on some of the highlights, for the full speech click here.
The Everglades is protected by four international treaties, one of them being the World Heritage List. There are 22 World Heritage sites in the United States, but the Everglades is the only one that is designated “ In Danger”. The everglades is home to 47 endangered species and Miami’s drinking water comes from there as well. Larry reminded us that all National Parks were meant for the enjoyment of people, creating a legacy of memories for everyone to enjoy. In 2016, the National Parks System will be 100 years old. To commemorate the centennial, President Obama declared that in 2016 every 4th grader can visit the National Parks for free with their families!
If you weren’t able to make it out to this event and want to find out what was discussed, check out the storified twitter-convo.
If you’d like more information on how to enjoy all that Crandon Park has to offer, check out Miami-Dade Parks EcoAdventures or follow them on Facebook at Crandon Adventures and Visitors Center, Twitter @MDEcoAdventures, or on Instagram @MiamiEcoAdventures.
If you’d like more information on the Everglades National Park, check out their website, or follow them on Twitter @EvergladesNPS or on Instagram @EvergladesNPS. Or to get in touch with our guest speaker Larry Perez, you can find more information here.
There’s also a lot of great information about the Everglades and how to get involved with the Everglades Foundation.
For more science café events, follow COSEE Florida on Twitter @COSEEFlorida, on Instagram @COSEEFlorida, or on Facebook at COSEE Florida. Or search #COSEEMIA on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook for events in Miami.
Stay tuned for details on the next COSEE Florida #COSEEMIA science café coming May 2015!