Promoting Education and Stewardship for a Better Bay

There is a great need for environmental education programs and activities specifically focused on Biscayne Bay and reaching all members of the community—not only students, but adults as well. The environmental awareness programs in our schools are good, but we should seek more “hands on” teaching that focuses on the bay. Effort should also be focused on making south Florida ecosystem education universal to all students. In addition, these programs need to be geared to the many audiences and cultures found in our community. Both materials and signage in the bay need to reflect our diverse cultures by being prepared in appropriate languages to provide information useful to all. Finally, special effort needs to be given to educating our community and neighborhood leaders so that they can both understand the impacts of their decisions and help educate their constituents about the importance of the bay.

Key Actions

• Develop a central clearinghouse to collect available information and disseminate it efficiently to interested parties.

• Management strategies for Biscayne Bay must include coordinated public education and outreach among at least five groups: 1) primary, secondary, and post-secondary students and educators; (2) the general public, with an emphasis on involvement of minority groups; (3) public officials; (4) direct users of the bay, with an emphasis on boaters; and (5) tourists.

• The Florida Legislature should continue to provide funding for the purpose of public education and outreach regarding the long-term health of the Biscayne Bay ecosystem and south Florida’s dependency on it.