On April 23, we set up an oil-themed station for children at the annual Ocean Kids day to show the effects of oil on juvenile fish.
Ocean Kids is a University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science sponsored event that “enhances environmental awareness and appreciation, while empowering students and teachers from underserved communities to become ocean ambassadors and effect positive change in their communities and beyond.”
This year’s event was held at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Key Biscayne. Children and families who attended could go to themed stations with creative activities set up by students and scientists from UM RSMAS to learn about different areas of marine science and conservation. There was a wide variety of themes this year ranging from coral reef conservation and biology, to the impacts of oil spills on juvenile fish to marine acoustics and noise pollution. One group even created a garbage monster costume out of just a few days worth of trash from the beach to bring attention to littering.
The RECOVER booth – titled “Oil Spill – Mini Mahi Malady!” – enabled visitors to have a close encounter with some live mahi-mahi larvae under the microscopes. These samples were collected from the UM Experimental Hatchery the previous day. There was even a fishing game with trivia questions where children could test their knowledge and win prizes.
Children enjoyed moving the petri dishes around looking for different baby fish to see how they compared to one another. Most of them were too young to remember the oil spill, but were very curious to see what happened to the animals affected and sad to learn many of them a were hurt by it.