Monday, March 7, 2016

Highlights for the week ending march 5th

The National Park Service’s Centennial
On February 28th, the AmeriCorps VISTA group of volunteers participated in the 12th annual Kite Festival at El Morro. This activity was part of the 100th National Park Service anniversary celebrations.

Interactive music concerts in the schools of Caño Martín Peña:
We facilitated four workshops/concerts, titled “Con Vivaldi y Handel en el Caño” (With Vivaldi and Handel in the [Martín Peña] Channel). These were conducted on March 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in elementary schools Sofía Rexach, Moisés Meléndez, Manuel Boada and Haydee Rexach, respectively. The concerts featured water-themed music, mainly excerpts from Vivaldi’s “The Seasons” and Handel’s “Water Music.” The musicians engaged the students in short conversations about the importance of keeping nearby bodies of water clean, how many entities are working toward cleaning their nearby channel, and how the wood and materials used to make their instruments came from nature. These workshops were possible thanks to a contribution and matching funds made by the Titín Foundation.

Climate change curricular lessons: On March 1rst and 2nd, our AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Helen Angell and our Education Manager Javier Cardona, facilitated brand new climate change curricular lessons for public school students at Julián Blanco Specialize School in Ballet and Jesus Rivera Bultrón.

Second activity with the Guardians of the Estuary in Piñones:
On March 2nd, the AmeriCorps VISTA group of volunteers carried out the second Guardians of the Estuary activity for the Emiliano Figueroa Elementary School in Piñones. The group of 36 students and 6 parents had the opportunity to do water monitoring exercises and beach cleaning. Their initiative with the Emiliano Figueroa school is part of their project of identification of opportunities for economic growth based in the environment within the community of Piñones.

Water quality monitoring workshops
On March 2nd our Coordinator of Water Quality Volunteer Monitoring Program gave a water quality monitoring workshop at Manuel Elzaburu y Vizcarrondo School for a group of students between 4th and 5th grade. The school is localized in Sec. Cantera, San Juan, PR.

Book Donations
On March 1st our AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, the historian Laura Horta and Diana Ferro, gave the first donation to the library of the Emiliano Figueroa Elementary School in Piñones, as part of the VISTA initiative to identify economic growth opportunities based in the environment.


Highlights for the week ending February 27th

CREARTE joins Estuary Guardians: Our Education Program started a collaboration with CREARTE to develop education activities within and outside the classroom to educate students and teacher regarding water quality and topics related to The San Juan Bay Estuary. Through Guardianes, CREARTE has adopted the Juan Mendez creek as the body of water that they will monitor. 
CREARTE students walk over the Juan Méndez creek, which they have pledged to defend as Guardians of the Estuary.
First activity with the Guardians of the Estuary in Piñones:
On february 24th the AmeriCorps VISTA group of volunteers, prepared the first Guardians of the Estuary activity from the Emiliano Figueroa Elementary School in Piñones. The activity in this school is part of the VISTA's ongoing efforts towards creating environment-based economic opportunities in the community of Piñones.

Workshop on Principles of Ethics for Research Involving Human Subjects and CIPSHI Procedures: On february 24th, our AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer and historian Laura Horta went to the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus for a  training in research involving human subjects. This initiative is part of the interest in developing the skills of our volunteers and the importance in the San Juan Estuary Program to learn more about strategies for social research.

Water Quality Monitoring Program with Volunteers
For the week of February 23-25 the San Juan Bay Water Quality Monitoring Program with Volunteers (WQMPV) went to the field to visit 24 monitoring stations around the San Juan Bay estuary Watershed. A total of 14 volunteers joined the WQMPV coordinator and collect data of eight water quality parameters during the 4 day monitoring period. As part of a special biannual event, we collected water samples to be analyzed by a certified laboratory for the following parameters: Oil & grease, nutrients, fecal bacteria, BOD, Turbidity and chlorophyll.

Educational and environmental field trip by the Condado Lagoon: On February 27th our Education Manager, Javier Cardona, and our Coordinator of Water Quality Volunteer Monitoring Program, Harold Manrique, guided a group of students of the EcoExploratorio Museum of Science through the Condado Lagoon. The group of fifty students, learned more about the San Juan Estuary Program, the flora and fauna of the lagoon and the importance of environmental volunteer work. Also, the students had the opportunity to do water monitoring exercises.