Environmental Learning Center visitors

Reid, Brad, Kristina and Clark Latraverse enjoying their day at the Environmental Learning Center.

VERO BEACH - The Environmental Learning Center will host its first Citizen Science Day on April 13. Citizen scientists are volunteers who help scientists conduct important research.

If contributing to scientific knowledge isn’t enough of a draw, visitors will also get free admission to the 54-acre lagoon island ELC campus. Weather permitting, guests may also participate in free canoe trips, and free seining opportunities at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Guests will have ample time to stroll among the mangroves and immerse themselves in nature.

“Everyone at the ELC is really excited that we are hosting Citizen Science Day,” Kat Redner, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the ELC, told Hometown News. “It’s going to be a really fun and educational event, and it’s the first time ever that we are offering it at the ELC, so we are all looking forward to it. There are so many great organizations in this community and we want to really highlight some of the science projects that people can do to help our environment while giving them plenty of opportunities to get their hands dirty and their feet wet.”

Citizen scientists will participate in research regarding a range of environmental issues, including microplastics, horseshoe crabs, and bird health.

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that have broken down from larger items. Microplastics can be ingested by animals and humans. Volunteers will learn to collect samples to determine the level of microplastics in water.

Horseshoe crabs are important to the lagoon's health. Participants will help scientists tag horseshoe crabs and conduct population surveys.

The eBird Project advances avian and environmental science by helping researchers track the health and welfare of birds through crowd sourcing, where people collect and report data about birds they see.

There will also be workshops on how to build a rain barrel or birdhouse, and talks on important environmental issues.

“Anyone that comes to Citizen Science Day will be able to participate in many different activities from canoe quick trips to science workshops,” Ms. Redner said. “All of this is completely free, which makes it even better. Attendees can walk around campus and see all of the wonderful things that the ELC has to offer.”

“Citizen Science Day encourages people to participate in local science projects that help our community. We are happy to encourage people to get outside and see all of the fun and different ways that they can become involved.”

The free Citizen Science Day takes place on Saturday, April 13, noon-4 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Treasure Coast Golf Course Superintendents Association.

The ELC is located at 255 Live Oak Dr., Vero Beach. For more information or directions, visit discoverelc.org or call (772) 589-5050.

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