Leading through academics and outreach
We aim to increase understanding and promote science-based stewardship of coastal watersheds, estuaries and Gulf of Mexico ecosystems through the education of future scientists and scientifically literate citizens.
This is accomplished, in part, through classroom and field instruction of graduate and undergraduate students. More than seventeen different courses have included field experiences provided out of the Vester Marine Field Station. These courses include but are not limited to: Introduction to Environmental Studies, Marine Chemistry, Marine Ecology, Marine Ecosystem Monitoring and Research Methods, Marine Systems, Oceanography, Physical Oceanography and University Colloquium. Nearly 4,000 students (120 classes) have utilized the Field Station in the past three years for access to nearby habitats for instruction and to conduct research.
Additionally, we use the field station’s resources and expertise in outreach education programs to enrich marine science education in local schools and summer camps. Other outreach programs involve introducing our students and local groups to hands-on environmental restoration activities such as mangrove planting and oyster reef restoration as well as rescuing marine sea life. For one example, 2,467 mangrove propagules were planted by Boy Scouts Troop 330-San Carlos Park as part of a mangrove restoration project.
As part of our outreach mission, we also provide opportunities for life-long learning about the marine environment to the broader community through seminars, tours of the station and allowing community groups to use the facility. For example, presentations have recently been given to such groups as Agency on Bay Management, Barefoot Beach Civic Association, Caloosa Catch and Release Fishing Tournament Series, Democratic Club of Bonita Springs, Friends of Barefoot Beach, Edison Big Snook Charity Fishing Tournament, Imperial River Conservancy, Scientific Angler Seminar Series Rookery Bay Reserve and Professional Guides Associations. Topics included: non-internal combustion motor zones (NICM), mercury in sharks, impacts of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, habitat use of sea grasses, oyster reefs and mangroves by organisms related to recreational fisheries.
To date, civic and governmental organizations and agencies have used the field station to host over 100 meetings or outreach events. Examples include:
- Barefoot Beach Civic Association oyster restoration workshop
- Everglades Scientists Group oyster recovery meetings
- Florida Sea Grant Program regional advisory council meetings
- Fort Myers Beach shrimping industry meetings
- Smart Growth Commercial Fishermen Council workshop
- Solution To Avoid Red Tide: community training and outreach meetings
- Surf Rider Foundation meetings and red tide workshop
- ROV Sea Ray training workshop
- West Coast Inland Navigation District meetings
Alliance for Collier's Coastal Resilience