Niceville High School and Crystal River students looking at specimens collected from the Crystal River site.

Niceville High School students and faculty providing an introductory briefing on NaGISA project and the collection protocol.

Niceville High School and Crystal River students looking at microscopic specimens during analysis sphase of the first NaGISA collection in Crystal River.

Crystal River Trip

During our trip to Crystal River, we visited a charter school, the Academy of Environmental science and worked with them on establishing a NaGISA protocol for their area.  The purpose for including this school is to establish yet another collection site for NaGISA to study and have to monitor the ever changing coastlines.

When we arrived in Crystal River we went to the school and met with some of the faculty and scientific leaders to overview the protocols. We then met with the students and divided into groups. We had a 1 on 3 interaction level which allowed us to give each student a proper overview of the protocols. We went over the protocols not only by reading them, but also through demonstrations and practice outside.

During the collection, we took boats out to the selected GPS coordinates and began practicing the protocol. The coastal environment in Crystal River is much different from ours. The area where the sampling was done was very murky and had layers of silt. It was difficult running the protocol, but they have the resources necessary to adapt to their different mangrove environment.

After the collection, the next day we brought our samples into the lab and began teaching the analysis protocol. The analysis is very similar to ours, and involves specific samples and ample time to sort through everything. We split the students into 5 groups around the lab and asked them to go through the analysis on their own after a quick briefing by our analysis team. Niceville students were available to answer questions and to help the Crystal River students and staff to understand the analysis protocol.

This trip was very successful. The Crystal River students and faculty were all more than happy to work with us and to be part of the NaGISA team. It is very beneficial to the sources of the NaGISA program to have as many sites as possible so we can get accurate data to supply the NaGISA headquarters.