NewsProtecting Paradise


FGCU summer camp teaching kids about water quality

Posted at 12:08 AM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 00:08:22-04

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. -- Florida Gulf Coast University is making waves by educating the younger generation about Florida’s waters.

“It’s really fascinating and it’s fun to learn about our oceans,” said Sidney Kamerman, 7th grader, North Naples Middle School.

Eleven middle school students from all over Southwest Florida are getting their hands wet in Marine Biology.

“I’ve always been interested in marine biology and want to be a marine biologist when I grow up,” said Jax Possehl, Venice.

“And that’s when I really started connecting with the environment, where I found my love for science, my love of the oceans, and it’s that start that really brought me to where I am today,” said Phoebe Clark, FGCU Marine Biology Graduate Student.

Phoebe Clark and other grad students at FGCU run the week long Vester Marine Science Summer Camp. It launched summer of 2018 and consists of three, one week camps.

“These kids are learning about what’s going on right now, it’s not these abstract topics, it’s something that’s very real, and very relevant to them right now,” said Clark.

“I’ve never cared this much about a jar of dirty lake water before,” said Edwin Cepeda, 8th grader, Three Oaks Middle School.

“A lot of our oceans are polluted and I would like to go and try to save the oceans, because with out the oceans we won’t have the fish to eat, and they won’t have fish to eat,” said Aubree Lopez, 7th grader, Gulf Middle School.

The campers anchored at five different locations, Imperial River and ending in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We are checking the salinity of the water, and how clear the water is and observing the phytoplankton in the water,” said Megan Swanson, North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts.

Taking part in a secchi disk test, which measures the clarity of the water. Using a YSI device to find out the temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and ph level of the water.

And lastly, catching phytoplankton to take a look at tiny microscopic creatures under a microscope back at the lab.

“What I want these kids to get out of it, the happiness of being out on a boat, learning new things, performing research, collecting new data, really getting into the science of it all,” said Clark.

This is the first year Clark has been running the camp. She hopes in the future it'll expand to more students.