Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SJBEP in the cover of international report; New member of our Board; Indicators; Vacuum Sewage System in Cantera; Christmas Bird Census; IGERT; Others

Pictures: Photo winner of the international contest to be featured in the cover of the 2011 World Water Monitoring Day Report; Workshop for volunteers at the Piñones Forest; Workshop for volunteers at the Red mangrove planting site of the Condado Lagoon; Monitoring workshop for Estuary Guardians School Monitoring Program and planting project at one of the Cantera community's parking lots.

Our update from November 23, 2011 to January 13, 2012 is as follows:

San Juan Bay Estuary on the cover of the World Water Monitoring Day’s annual report – This December a photograph depicting the SJBE was chosen, amongst others from all parts of the world, as the cover of the WWQMD’s annual report of 2011. The image, taken by photographer Ana Martínez, was submitted by the SJBEP and will help promote next year’s event.

New member in SJBEP’s Board of Directors: The SJBEP is honored to welcome Mr. William F. Thon Murphy to its Board of Directors. Mr. Thon Murphy is Merrill Lynch’s First Vice President, holds a bachelors degree from Notre Dame University and has extensive experience working for UBS of Puerto Rico and Kidder Peabody. As part of our welcome Javier Laureano offered in December 18, 2011 a guided tour in the Estuary for him and other members of our board of directors, showcasing the some of our restoration projects.

San Juan Bay Estuarine Indicators/ STAC meeting: On December 1st, 2011, Dr. Ernesto Otero presented the findings of his investigation concerning the sediments and fish tissue contaminants found in the SJBE system to our Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee. The report is entitled: “Estuarine Environmental Indicators for the San Juan Estuary: Assessment of Sediments and Fish Tissue Contaminants.” and will be available in our website’s Science section.

Novel Vacuum Sewage System to improve water quality: On December 22, 2012 the Proyecto Península de Cantera announced the construction of a vacuum sewage system that will serve approximately 1,000 family units that historically discharged untreated sewage waters into the Martín Peña Channel and San José Lagoon. This far-reaching project means that approximately 420,000 gallons of sewage waters per day will not be able to reach the San Juan Bay Estuary system. Dr. Jorge Bauzá participated in the press conference and spoke about the ecological and water quality benefits of this project.

SJBE Christmas Bird Census: On December 22, the SJBE Program sponsored and coordinated its Christmas bird count with the participation of 18 volunteers. The observations collected by the participants were shared with the Ornithological Society of Puerto Rico, the PR Conservation Trust, and Cornell University Ornithology Lab. The bird population count has constituted an important activity of the Program since 1999.

SJBEP participates at IGERT exchange - Last Thursday, January 12, Javier Laureano represented the SJBEP in a workshop of the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) at the University of Puerto Rico. The main purpose of the meeting was the discussion of possible internship opportunities for graduate students among the participating federal, state and nonprofit organizations.

Estuary Films successful season finale – On December 10th, Estuary Films closed its season for the year 2011 with the presentation of the movie Avatar. Approximately 150 persons gathered at Jaime Benítez Park for the presentation.

The sound of the sea and global warming: a new article by Dr. Jorge Bauzá - Our Scientific Advisor, Dr. Jorge Bauzá, published a new article on global warming. The article, titled “El sonido del mar y el calentamiento”, was published in El Nuevo Día, one of the Island’s major newspapers, on Sunday, January 8, 2011.

Board of Directors meetings – On December 7, 2011 the SJBEP’s Board of Directors held a meeting at the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, which lasted from 9:00am to 11:00am. The same day our nonprofit entity, the Corporation for the Conservation of the SJBE, met in McConnell Valdés in the afternoon.

Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day activities to be Integrated in the K-12 Science Curriculum of the Toa Baja/Toa Alta DE District: This year, and for the first time, this annual event will be part of the science curriculum at 27 schools in the Toa Baja and Toa Alta municipalities. Gladys Rivera, our Outreach Coordinator, presented the project to the Department of Education’s District Science Facilitator, Mrs. Ruth Rosa, who immediately coordinated a workshop with the teachers. The workshop took place on December 15, at the Martin García Giusti school in Toa Baja, where a group of teachers from eleven schools received information about the SJ Bay Estuary and how to test for water quality.

Trees for the Parking Lot! A Citizen’s Concern: One citizen’s concern regarding the need for trees in the parking lot of the Salesian Missions facilities in the Cantera community resulted in an educational talk and planting event with students of the San Juan Bosco Private School. In the only green area of the parking lot, 30 students planted 15 Almácigo trees. The event, coordinated by Gladys Rivera, was held during the morning of Thursday, December 1st. Trees and technical support were provided by Herminio Díaz, from the DRNA.

Field trip with our Education and Restoration Volunteers: To complement the workshops for the new group of certified volunteers of the SJBE, Dr. Jorge Bauzá and Gladys Rivera guided a group of 14 volunteers through different areas where the SJBEP has ongoing restoration projects. The field visits took place on Saturday, December 3, 2011.

Estuary habitat as central theme of science fairs: During this month, Colegio de Lourdes, in Carolina, sent several student groups to the SJBE to work on their science fair projects. Two groups, working with San José Lagoon water quality and mangroves, received mentoring from Gladys Rivera, our Outreach Coordinator. Another group received an educational talk and learned to perform water quality monitoring at the Condado Lagoon.

Estuary Guardians at the Lagoon: As part of their participation in the Estuary Guardians project, students from María Reina Academy's received an educational boat trip through the San José and Torrecillas Lagoons.

SJBE joins the Climate Change Education Partnership: Staff member Dr. Jorge Bauzá has been selected as an invited speaker to the “Coastal Area Climate Change Education (CACCE) Partnership Workshop on Impacts of Climate Change on the Caribbean Countries.” The objectives of the workshop are to: define the current state of awareness, perceptions, and literacy about the impacts of climate change; identify issues with “traction” and information needs through surveys, panel discussions, and workshops; and develop a comprehensive educational plan specific to the coastal areas of Florida and the Caribbean to improve climate change literacy, and competency in managing its impacts. The title of the presentation will be: “The San Juan Bay Estuary and its initiatives toward a Climate Ready Estuary.” This workshop will be held February 1-3 of 2012 in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

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