Skip to Main Content

The Miami-Dade Environmental Education Grant was awarded to the Sea Level Solutions Center (SLSC) in the FIU Institute of Environment, a university preeminent program.

 

The grant supports an accelerated education initiative to inform Miami-Dade residents and businesses about our fragile environment and promote stewardship to help them safeguard their environment and quality of life, in the face of pressures of population increase and climate change impacts such as sea-level rise. We emphasize on working directly with communities, linking top scientists, educators, students, and municipal leaders, to find and implement solutions-oriented opportunities. We have included stipends for “neighborhood ambassadors” to extend our reach into the residential and business community even further and have engaged the Global Learning for Global Citizenship program at FIU to maximize new outlets for reaching students. Our trainings approach science and technology into experiential fun activities that provide the tools and skills needed to adapt and persevere through the challenges of climate change in our region.

 

enviro-education-grant-8x5.jpg

Our identified priority activities focus on 1) water pollution, water conservation and drinking water quality; 2) urban forestry; 3) solid waste management; and 4) general environment. The resources and data reported from activities supported by this grant will be available on the Miami Environmental Science Action Network (MESAN) website. Participants can get involved by recording their activities in the MESAN Monitoring App.

One example of our priority activities worth highlighting is the community integration through citizen science during our annual Sea Level Solutions Day event. This education initiative provides community members the opportunity to collect flood data with citizen-science kits that we provide. Citizen scientists then upload observations through a phone application, as they interact with experts, students, public officers, and other people in their community and learn about the impacts of sea level rise in the region.

This project is funded by Miami-Dade County.

Related Projects

Browse below for more information about projects related to this grant:

  • Heat Monitoring Citizen Science Project

    About the Project

    In 2018, our Sea Level Solutions Center and the Department of Journalism launched a series of citizen science heat monitoring events called “Shading Dade” with Catalyst Miami. Our partnership has grown to include the University of Miami, and we actively seek new partners to join our work. Working with cities and non-profits, we’ve found that citizen science is an effective way to collect information about extreme events, like flooding and heat, and engage communities with information about risks, as well as be part of solutions to reduce climate risks. We hold community events where we share information about climate change and temperature risks to humans and health. We distribute sensors for participants to take back to their communities to deploy. Participants are instructed on how to use a smartphone application to record information about the deployment – location, photos, notes – so that data can be retrieved, downloaded and analyzed, and sensors redeployed. Because local environmental variation like buildings, impervious surface, tree cover and proximity to water bodies can have a large impact on the temperature people experience in their daily lives, we sought to understand how the variation in tree canopy influences those temperatures, with the overall goal of providing science-based information to support local climate adaptation and mitigation strategies.

    tiffany-heat-sensors-8x5.jpg

    heat-sensor-8x5.jpg

     

    About the Sensors and Communities

    Our project began as a pilot to understand how tree cover influences temperatures at bus stops and outdoor recreational areas in a few locations. It has grown to include monitoring of treed and non-treed areas in about 20 locations around Miami-Dade County, with nearly 150 individual temperature sensor deployments to date. Sensors are programmed to record data on an hourly interval which gives us about 3 months of continuous data at each location. We select areas based on where participants were interested in understanding temperature patterns in their communities, including the cities of Opa Locka, Homestead, Miami Beach, Surfside, North Miami, and Florida City, within Miami neighborhoods including Wynwood, Coconut Grove, Little Haiti, Liberty City, and Little River, and unincorporated areas including Kendall. Starting as a largely grassroots, unfunded project, we've since incorporated the project into environmental education events funded by Miami-Dade County. We will continue to grow the project as part of the Climate and Health Equity Coalition led by Catalyst Miami and funded by the Kresge Foundation.

    Most sensors record temperature. We've deployed a limited number that also record humidity. The IButtonLink sensor is a tiny computer chip enclosed inside a stainless steel can about the size of a quarter.

     

    Importance of the Project

    Average and maximum annual temperatures in Miami are on the rise. Compared to 1970-2000, annual average temperatures have increased 1.0 degree F per decade, with 2015, 2017, and 2019 being 2.4 degrees F hotter on average than any other year since 2000. We've also seen an increase in maximum monthly temperatures, with March 2020 being the second hottest on record. Extreme heat in most of the U.S is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In April 2020, we've already experienced three periods of extreme heat. These periods of high temperatures pose risks to people. FEMA indicates that extreme heat often results in the highest annual number of deaths among all weather-related disasters. Certain populations of our community are more vulnerable to heat exposure including infants, children and older adults, people with chronicle medical conditions, households without reliable AC, athletes, outdoor workers and pets. Risk factors increase with high levels of humidity, obesity, fever, dehydration, prescription drug use, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and alcohol use. Applying science to decision-making, we can design our natural-built environment to reduce the risks of heat and improve quality of life in our community.

Events

Browse below for more information about events related to this grant: