Saturday, April 16, 2016

Highlights for the week of April 9th

News Editorial
Our Sanitary Discharge Identification and Elimination Project received an important mention on April 3rd, 2016 in the editorial of the most significant newspaper on the island. El Nuevo Día highlighted our project as one of great importance and that should be replicated in other regions. The editorial points out how the work done by our team has significantly improved the conditions of the San Juan Bay estuary.
Here's the link:
Guardians of the Estuary in Piñones:
On April 4th, the AmeriCorps VISTA group of volunteers, lead the Guardians of the Estuary from the Emiliano Figueroa Elementary School in Piñones in different activities. The initiative in this school is part of the VISTA's ongoing efforts towards creating environment-based economic opportunities in the community of Piñones.
Educational and environmental field trip by the San Juan Bay
Our Education Manager Javier Cardona, and other members of our Program, guided a group of 130 students and 10 teachers of the Segunda Unidad Pedro Fernández school of Naranjito, by the San Juan Bay in Old San Juan. The event took place on April 8th, 2016. Firstly, the group went to our Visitor Center. In addition, they interacted with the field and learned more about the San Juan Estuary Program, the flora and fauna and the importance of environmental volunteer work. Furthermore, the students had the opportunity to do water monitoring exercises, beach cleaning and classify various types of debris or trash in beach sand.

Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day Event
The San Juan Bay Estuary celebrated the greatest water quality monitoring event throughout the island on April 9th.  During the event, more than 700 volunteers visited over 150 monitoring stations in rivers, creeks, lakes, lagoons and the beach to perform colorimetric water quality tests.   The event covered more than 40 municipalities of the Island, from the mountains to the ocean. It was coordinated by the SJBE Outreach Manager, Gladys Rivera, with the support of SJBE staff, volunteers and the collaboration of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and their Jobos Bay Estuarine Reserve, the Environmental Quality Board and other organizations and groups.
Links to the news:

In preparation of this event, several events were held prior April 9th, as follow:

Water Quality Monitoring Day’s Leaders Workshops
On May 30th and April 2nd our Outreach Manager, Gladys Rivera, led two workshops for over 45 group leaders of the Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day. The workshops were held at the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) HQ in San Juan and the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Reserve in Salinas respectively.  The events were supported by Nancy García from EQB, Ernesto Olivares of Jobos Bay, and AmeriCorps VISTA Members.
Macroinvertebrates’ workshops
More than 70 volunteers that will perform macroinvertebrate identification as part of the PRWMD event received hands-on training in three workshops held in Utuado, Luquillo and Río Piedras.  These workshops, coordinated by Gladys Rivera, were offered by James Kurtenbach, Biologist and expert in the field from EPA Region 2 as part of an EPA initiative to promote citizen science activities in the Caribbean. The events were also supported also by the Environmental Quality Board personnel, the National Forest Service El Yunque and the office of Bosque Modelo in Utuado.
Bacteriology Tests Pilot Project Workshop
A selected group of volunteers of the Puerto Rico Water Monitoring Day event participated in a special workshop where the 30 participants were able to learn about bacteriology test that can be performed without the need of an incubator, the Aguagenx Compartment Bag Test method.  This workshop was lead by Jim Ferreti (EPA Region 2) with the help of Harold Manrique (SJBE Water Quality Monitoring Program Coordinator). Twenty one water samples were analyzed for Total Coliform and E.Coli.  The samples were prepared and analyzed by the citizen scientists during the workshop. Incubation time for the method was 48hrs, the participants had the options of returning to our office to observed their results or being informed via email.
As part of the efforts to improve our scientific method, the workshop coordinators ran all the samples through the Idexx Colilert method in order to compare both analyses. We have the results of both methods ready to be analyzed and compared in order to determine which method will be ideal for the use of general public.

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