On October 22 and 23, seventeen citizens of Rincón and surrounding areas from various professions acquired a scientific skill set that will allow them to contribute to real science and the health of our local marine systems in a positive way. These trained citizens are now part of the first ever citizen science program at the Reserva Marina Tres Palmas (RMTP).
The Tres Palmas Citizen Science Program truly speaks to our mission here at Isla Mar—in training the next generation of scientists and sharing science with our communities, we hope to instill in our citizen scientists a deeper love and respect for the water worlds that surround us, and, of course, educate them on various aspects of coral health and marine ecosystems.
During the workshop, participants learned how to identify various species of corals, certain coral diseases and even signs of stress, as well as the basics of identifying fish and bird species. With the skills acquired, our citizen scientists will aid us in conducting annual surveys of the birds across the RMTP area (including the community trails!) as well as function as our eyes in the water, monitoring the growth and success of the corals that we have restored to the marine reserve following disasters like hurricanes and boat groundings.
The workshop and program is sponsored by Concalma, a woman-owned brand based in Puerto Rico and passionate about raising awareness on fair trade, sustainable practices and the importance of local design. The donations provided to us during the sales of their collaborative bag design with Medalla Light in support of our coral reef restoration work helped us provide a well-rounded experience for our participants. The program was also conducted in collaboration with Puerto Rico Sea Grant, who aided us in training our citizen scientists during their workshop and provided their coral, fish and bird identification reference materials.
We are excited to see this program flourish over this next year! Stay tuned for updates.