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Frost Science Museum: Leading the Charge in Coastal Conservation and Education

Posted at 11:19 AM, Jul 02, 2024

Shannon Jones from Frost Science and Christina Polycarpe, a recent graduate of the museum’s Your Shores program joined Inside South Florida to shed light on the various initiatives the Frost Science Museum is undertaking to educate the community and protect the coastal environment.

Shannon Jones began by explaining the museum’s commitment to conservation. "Frost Science is really passionate about conservation," she said. The museum runs numerous programs aimed at preserving coral reefs and shorelines. These efforts are showcased through engaging exhibits and hands-on volunteer opportunities that involve removing invasive species and planting native vegetation as part of their Volunteer to the Environment Program.

One standout initiative is the "Your Shores" program, which combines coral and coastal restoration efforts. "Your Shores is a combination of our coral restoration programs and our coastal restoration programs," Jones explained. This initiative also integrates the museum's Upward Bound Math and Science Program, funded by NOAA, to certify students in scuba diving and educate them on coastal protection.

Christina Polycarpe, a recent graduate of the Upward Bound Math and Science Program, shared her transformative experience. "This program has really helped me mature and has honestly opened my eyes," she said. Polycarpe described how the program expanded her involvement beyond typical beach cleanups, allowing her to participate in activities like content surveying and planting mangroves, crucial for protecting sand dunes from storm surges.

When asked why she joined the Your Shores program, Polycarpe cited her love for water and prior experiences with Upward Bound's summer impact program. "It just made me really want to do even more and pursue it honestly," she said. Polycarpe detailed how her involvement included studying coral reefs and conducting water quality research, which cemented her interest in marine conservation.

Underwater activities were a significant part of the program. "Underwater, we usually take sheets that have fish ID and coral ID," Polycarpe explained. These dives involve identifying fish species and assessing coral health, including detecting signs of bleaching or bacterial infection. The data collected is reported through the iNaturalist app, contributing to broader scientific understanding.

Looking ahead, Polycarpe expressed her aspirations. "I've really considered becoming a coast guardian," she said, adding that she plans to attend Nova Southeastern University to study marine biology while serving.

Shannon Jones concluded by inviting viewers to learn more about Frost Science’s conservation efforts and educational programs. For more information, visit the museum's website at frostscience.org.

The Frost Science Museum, through programs like Your Shores and Upward Bound, is making significant strides in coastal conservation and education, fostering a new generation of environmentally conscious individuals like Christina Polycarpe.

Inside South Florida

10:49 AM, Jul 26, 2019

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