Education & Outreach Program Coordinator
Center for Coastal Oceans Research
The successful Travelling Turtles and Darker Skies, Darker Beaches trunk programs are now available for teachers to use in Monroe County. Inwater Research Group’s Education Manager, Rebecca Mott, developed this program to teach about sea turtles and to bring awareness to the threats and issues sea turtles face into the classroom. This is done through trunk programs where each trunk consists of lessons, materials and supplemental resources for teachers to facilitate on their own. Trunks can be moved between classrooms and even between schools. This way, resources can be shared and teachers can utilize materials and lessons in a time efficient and easy to manage way.
The trunk program Travelling Turtles focuses on sea turtle biology and rehabilitation while the Darker Skies, Darker Beaches program focuses on sea turtle safe lighting. Both programs offer well rounded lesson plans and activities that hit a variety of standards in correlation to the Florida Standards of Education.
Sea turtles can be found throughout the Florida Keys, offshore and on various nesting beaches. Teaching students about sea turtles and their importance, biodiversity and ecology at a young age is crucial to their understanding of the environment that will lead them to become environmental stewards. There are 16 schools within the Monroe County School district, most of which have a Title I status. These trunks will be used to serve these schools and give a new opportunity to teachers and students to connect real science in their classes.
Florida International University’s Center for Coastal Oceans Research (FIU’s CCOR) will be partnering with Inwater Research on this Initiative thanks to funding provided by the National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation. Although FIU is located in Miami-Dade County, they have a very large presence in the Florida Keys. FIU scientists conduct work in relation to the seagrass, fish ecology, coral reef biology, water quality and sea level rise in the Keys. FIU has invested in the education of Monroe County community members and students in marine science through an Education and Outreach program located in Key Largo. The coordination of trunks between schools, relationships with schools and oversight of the program will be done by the FIU CCOR Education & Outreach Coordinator.
FIU, Inwater Research Group and National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation hope to bring a new-found awareness of the environment to inspire the youth of today to be inspired to protect and conserve the resources and wildlife around them.
National Save The Sea Turtle Foundation