“maximizing Profits In The Fragrant Harbor: Forex Vs. Crypto Trading” – National parks not only function to protect and preserve environmental health, but also to educate and involve people in enjoying and utilizing nature. In short, it can be said from an anthropocentric point of view; that its main mission is the conservation of nature for the education and eternal enjoyment of mankind. As the birthplace of national parks, the United States is renowned for the efforts and resources dedicated to protecting and preserving the incredibly diverse ecosystems found within its borders. From the deserts of Joshua Tree to the arctic tundra of Denali, I am amazed by the seemingly endless possibilities for exploring new and unfamiliar environments. With more than 297 million visitors per year (across 423 parks), the importance of these protected natural areas cannot be denied. However, the way people use national parks and learn about natural resources must be carefully managed and presented to ensure that future generations can enjoy them for years to come.

Just south of Miami, is a modest park nestled in the middle of a mangrove forest, with only 5 percent of its area appearing above water as land. Upon arrival, Biscayne National Park consists of a visitor center with approximately the same size parking lot. However, it only takes a few minutes to realize, hearing the speedboats passing one by one, that there are many activities on offer here; just look below the surface.

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Biscayne National Park was established in 1980 and is a marine recreation center. On any given day, the park’s waters (which make up 95% of the park) are a destination for boating, fishing, diving, bird watching, snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing and eco-guided adventures. On a clear day, you can see the Miami skyline and surrounding industry – which seems to stop right at the entrance to the park and contrasts with a touch of mangrove forest in the foreground. As I settled in, I saw that this park gave local visitors significant access to the beautiful South Florida coastline. It is home to extraordinary natural and cultural resources, which makes the park an educational platform. However, I immediately wondered about how human interactions and use of natural resources within national parks were monitored and controlled to reduce impacts on people while encouraging and supporting the use of national parks. Over the next two weeks, I will be participating in a comprehensive marine monitoring and inventory program on Biscayne to understand how it is implemented.

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Without missing a beat, I joined Mosaic Diversity Science intern James Puentes and Latino Heritage Internship Program intern Nate Lima for a recreational fishing survey at a nearby public marina as part of a fish and wildlife inventory and monitoring program. The main goal of the project is to involve fishermen in collecting catch data through informal interviews, which will contribute to the development of sustainable fishing regulations. Over several hours, we interviewed more than 40 fishermen and collected catch data (eg species, size, fishing location, fishing time) when the boats returned after a day on the water. In addition to meeting fishing enthusiasts and sharing the latest fishing regulations set in the park in 2020, this is where I first saw manatees! Surprised by their size and their constant presence in the marina, I realized how vulnerable they are to helicopter attacks (as some boats return from the sea every 5 to 10 minutes and the newcomer’s arrival signal is immediately launched a few moments later). Seeing the scars on their backs is a reminder of the respect that nature gives to this shared space. A reminder that we are guests in their marine home. As members of the national park’s biological monitoring team, our presence in the marina that day not only collected valuable data, but also served as a reminder to boaters to be cautious and do their part to preserve and protect the sensitive habitat and wildlife in the national park

Manatees graze at Homestead Marina alongside weekend boat traffic, highlighting human-wildlife interactions in the region and the importance of education to prevent harmful effects. Photo: Nate Lima

Later, I had the unique opportunity to join an all-female team of divers in the Wounded American Veterans Experience SCUBA (WAVES) project working with the NPS, National Park Foundation and SoundOff films to remove marine debris. We were joined by Horizons Divers all-female crew, NPS SRC archaeologist Annie Wright, University of Miami dive safety manager Jessica Keller, and Women Divers Hall of Fame veteran mentor Caron Shake. After speaking with last year’s NPS SRC intern, Sarah Von Hoene, I was looking forward to this project and was excited about the rare opportunity to join an all-female team on the water. After a presentation at a group dinner, I was again struck by the fact that although we each had different backgrounds, this project brought us together a set of goals and similarities that were united in a love of the underwater world, a desire to do something positive. change and a desire to participate in conservation missions by diving with a purpose.

I went out the first day, joining Biscayne National Park biologists Vanessa McDonough and Shelby Moneysmith to meet the WAVES team at the dive site. As we made our way out of the canal, into the bay and through the lock, I was surprised by the cheesy smile that spread across my face. My eyes were glued to my favorite shade of blue among the clear gradations of the water, a color I hadn’t seen since my Fisheries Resource Management internship at the University of Belize in 2019. Reflecting on my journey so far, I remembered not so. a long time ago , as a recent HBSc graduate, my main goal is to take a boat ride during work hours. I had no research experience, had barely seen the ocean for more than two weeks in my life, and felt intimidated about jumping into a field that seemed oversaturated and competitive. Now I’m sitting here thinking, “Wow, can I do this every day for the rest of the summer?” Let the work in the field begin!

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In one week, the team collected 3,700 pounds of trash, including abandoned lobster traps, fishing line, fishing hooks and plastic trash. The atmosphere on board was jubilant, full of inspiring conversation about current and future efforts to reduce marine debris and promote conservation. However, underwater I felt heavy and dark. Especially on the last day, when we docked in an area frequented by recreational fishermen, I felt overwhelmed and frustrated. Grabbing a handful of monofilaments as a crowd of fishing boats hovered overhead, I saw the damage caused by years of accumulated debris as fishing line cut through huge sponges and wound tightly around branching coral. Fishing lines left behind by recreational and commercial fishing (especially the long, strong lines used to tie commercial lobster traps) constitute one of the largest adverse impacts humans have on marine conservation in the region. In a 45 minute dive I covered only 20 square meters. The debris was extensive.

While I am proud of our efforts this week, I recognize that in order to find a long-term solution, the problem must be addressed at the source. Raising awareness is an important first step in eliminating the “out of sight, out of mind” principle often applied to the marine environment, and everyone who joins this effort will have a positive snowball. With the privilege of working and accessing the beauty of the underwater world comes the responsibility to start and continue the conversation about how we can protect this important ecosystem.

Later, I had the opportunity to join the Habitat Restoration Program team, working with biological science technicians Gabrielle Cabral, Cate Gelston, and Laura Palma, as well as MariCorps NPS intern Sophia Troeh, for my first coral transplant experience. , to support the university. Saving the Coral Reef Restoration Project in Miami. Together we started the ambitious goal of transplanting >1,500 coral fragments of Acropora cervicornis (deer horn). At the end of the first day, I snorkeled the site to get an aerial view of our garden, and I was struck by the rather unnatural appearance of a monoculture of coral fragments attached to the reef with lumps of cement. However, on the second day we planted coral fragments between the corals that were transplanted the previous year. They grow abundantly and quickly cover the cement “crust” of the coral reef, becoming beautiful, healthy coral. Although my role in this project was small (considering the enormous effort that goes into collecting and preserving corals for transplantation), I was able to reap the benefits of one of the most rewarding stages of the process, like many other volunteers. implemented through the comprehensive citizen science program, Rescue a Reefs. Coral restoration as a budding field may not be the solution to the climate crisis; however, it is a targeted mitigation tool that we can use to preserve ecosystems.


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