Welcome To The Citizen Scientist Project
This Citizen Scientist website is your gateway to the Key Biscayne Citizen Scientist Project. It is comprised of many sections which include the resources for Key Biscayne residents and citizen scientists to learn about their Island.
The Resources Section includes results from various activities conducted by the Citizen Scientist Project such as the Fishing Clinic, the Key Challenge, the Photo Challenge, and the mangrove clean-up. The results are described to provide Key residents with examples of the type of projects we sponsor for their participation.
The News Section provides information to Key residents on such topics as decisions made by various government agencies relative to Island resources, changes in the animal populations of the Island, changes in the status of the natural resources of the Key, etc. An informed population is better equipped to engage political leaders in discussions on the decisions they make relative to Island resources.
The Citizen Scientist Lab has 4 components: Explore, Learn, Record, and Map, each with a different function, and provides a place to learn more about the Key and to record and organize the information you have obtained as a Citizen Scientist about the natural resources of the Island. Participation has no limits with students, seniors, families, birders, beachcombers, professional scientists, etc. encouraged to provide data. By connecting the different perceptions and expertise of a wide variety of participants, we hope to engage and educate the community in terms of local biodiversity and the impact of decisions made at the federal, state and local level on our habitat.
Only by observing, recording, and analyzing data to define these changes can we hope to track detrimental changes and to take remedial measures.
Citizen Scientist Project Mission & Vision
As our world becomes more complicated, the need for data to first understand and then take action to protect its many natural resources becomes critical to ensure future habitability. The Citizen Scientist concept is gaining increased popularity as a means of obtaining these data. As defined by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
“Citizen Scientist typically refers to research collaborations between scientists and volunteers, particularly (but not exclusively) to expand opportunities for scientific data collection and to provide access to scientific information for community members.”
In briefer terms, a working definition of a citizen scientist project is given by, “projects in which volunteers partner with scientists to answer real-world questions.”
The Key Biscayne Community Foundation has established a Citizen Scientist Project using these definitions to achieve four goals. These goals are to be achieved by Key residents working with professional scientists and include: (1) Learn about the natural resources of Key Biscayne and Virginia Key; (2) Experience the natural resources of the Key through participation in field trips; (3) Participate in citizen scientist projects, which are directed at protecting the natural resources of the Island; and (4) Suggest projects for the Citizen Scientist Project.
By addressing these goals, Key residents can satisfy both the mission and the vision of the Citizen Scientist Project, which are:
Mission of the Citizen Scientist Project: Using citizen and professional scientists to monitor and to protect resources and to share information on the most critical natural resources of Key Biscayne and Virginia Key.
Vision of the Citizen Scientist Project: A future Key Biscayne characterized by the same bounty and quality of natural resources that exist today, thus maintaining the title of Island Paradise.
The primary requirement for success of the Key Biscayne Citizen Scientist Project requires “active participation by Key residents of all ages in Citizen Scientist and Projects.”
Key Biscayne is fortunate to be bounded on its eastern side by beautiful beaches extending the entire length of the Island. The beaches can be divided into 3 areas distinguished by the managing government agency. The northern end of the Key, Crandon Park falls under the jurisdiction of Miami-Dade county. The central portion of the beach… [read more]
Coral reefs are either naturally occurring or artificially implanted features of the natural environment located on the ocean side of Key Biscayne. The reefs are congregations of small living creatures typically found in tropical and subtropical waters, such as off Key Biscayne. Naturally occurring reefs form independently of human… [read more]
For purposes of this discussion, green spaces are areas that are limited to trees, plants, grass, and other natural flora. As with the Key’s beaches, green spaces can be divided into 3 areas, those in Crandon Park, the Village of Key Biscayne, and Bill Baggs Park. Each area has both common and unique green spaces. For instance, Crandon Park… [read more]
Mangrove Hammocks are natural clusters of Mangrove trees that are found along the boundaries of the Key’s waterways. Specifically, Mangrove Hammocks are located primarily on the Biscayne Bay side of Key Biscayne, for instance close to the Crandon Park Marina. A Mangrove Hammock was planted at the Bill Baggs… [read more]
Although man-made, the biking and walking paths on the Key open a large window to the natural resources of the Island and provide residents and visitors a view of some of its hidden treasures. They provide environmentally protected methods to view the Key and another entry to the shops of the Island. Although not hidden, the most used… [read more]
Key Biscayne has many inlets that provide outlets to Biscayne Bay for sea life such as sharks, manatees, and numerous species of other fish. In addition, the inlets serve as entry points to docking areas for personal boats ranging from sailboats to power boats, and small (order of 10 feet) to large (order of 150 feet). The inlets… [read more]