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FINAL SEA GRANT NOTES FOR 2020 – The Accomplishments, and Future Plans

This will be our last Sea Grant Notes for 2020.

MAN… what a year.

Many of our projects had to be postponed, canceled, or altered to meet the COVID restrictions for social distancing.

With that… we were able to accomplish somethings.

  1. We were able to continue monitoring nutrients and salinity in the Pensacola-Perdido Bay area. I would like to thank our team of citizen science volunteers who conducted this work and you can find the annual reports at the link below.
  2. We were able to conduct our mangrove surveys, and several were able to monitor their living shoreline projects. The seagrass monitoring project was one that did suffer from COVID restrictions.  We have had a lot of request for living shorelines since Hurricane Sally.  If you are, contact us and we can provide information on how they are done.  The mangrove report is at the link below.  Again, we would like to thank our team of volunteers who conduct this work.
  3. Despite the pandemic, we had incredible effort from our citizen volunteers surveying for diamondback terrapins. We were able to conduct the scallop search at the eastern end of Big Lagoon and were able to kick off our manatee sighting project.  We were unable to kick off our horseshoe crab hunt but hope to in 2021.  The annual reports for all are at the link below.  Again, MANY thanks to you all who helped with these.
  4. Invasive species removals were problematic in 2020 and will be the focus of 2021. However, we were able to educate a lot of people about the coastal invasive species issue across the panhandle.  This effort resulted in numerous reports on the national database so that we now know where additional problems occur for removal efforts next year.  We are also going to kick off a new project educating the public about new invasive species looming on the horizon we are going to call “Hitchhikers”.  We will post an “Early Detection Rapid Response Species of the Month” article beginning in January and will also include established problems we call “The Dirty Dozen”.
  5. Working with local marine industries proved problematic in 2020 as well. Our focus is on nature tourism, boating, and the seafood industries.  Many of planned workshops, trainings, and projects to enhance businesses had to be canceled but we do plan to revisit these in 2021.  We were able to work with the Santa Rosa Island Authority to update their Eco-Trail website.  It is not live yet, but we hope soon.
  6. Adult Education Programs did go well, albeit virtual. Science Hour is now a Facebook Live broadcast on the 3rd Thursday of the month, and we are currently lining programs for 2021.  The Panhandle Outdoors articles continued (link found below) as did Sea Grant Notes.  Florida Sea Grant introduced Bite Size Science and upgraded Seafood @ Your Fingertips to virtual platforms in 2020.  All programs can be found at links below.  They now have a Speakers Bureau where organizations interested in talks on marine related topics by Sea Grant specialist be found and requested.  See links for all below.  Panhandle Outdoors LIVE also went virtual and past broadcast can be found below.  We did conduct some snake survey work on Perdido Key and have published some information on the animals for the public that will available in 2021.  We are also working with the county to develop other wildlife notes on species of interest in our barrier island systems.  More to come.  Unfortunately, we were not able to offer classes in the Florida Master Naturalist Program but hope to in 2021 – stay tuned.
  7. Like adult ed projects, youth ed projects went virtual as well. We developed a series of Youth Science Lessons that focused on getting kids working at home remotely out into their yards, or beaches, to explore nature without being in a crowded situation.  There is a focus on the scientific process with many of the activities included.  We will continue these until no longer needed.

2020 was tough in so many ways.  Along with you, we are looking forward to 2021 with a healthy mix of virtual and in person projects and programs.

 

Citizen Science Reports, Youth Science Lessons can be found at https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/category/natural-resources/.

At the top of the page you will find WHAT CAN WE HELP YOU WITH? Type in topic of interest.

 

Bite Sized Science –  http://bit.ly/bite-sizedscience

Seafood @ Your Fingertips – https://www.facebook.com/floridaseagrant/

Panhandle Outdoors LIVE – http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/nat/panhandle-outdoors-live-online/