More than 100 volunteers from Dr. Edward L. Whigham Elementary School in Cutler Bay participated in the school’s seventh annual World Wetlands Day Cleanup on Saturday, Feb. 3.
Students, parents, staff and faculty worked from 9 a.m. to noon at Black Point Jetty, which is part Miami-Dade County Parks and part Biscayne National Park property.
Despite a light rain, which prompted some volunteers to bring rain coats and umbrellas, the weather was dry for most of the event and the volunteers collected more than 375 pounds of trash from the rocks and mangrove trees on the jetty. Their seven-year total is more than 4,500 pounds of trash collected. Trash included glass and plastic bottles, plastic bags and hundreds of feet of monofilament fishing line.
The annual effort is a joint project of the school and the WAVE (Whigham Aquatic Visionary Explorers) Academy. The WAVE Academy at Whigham Elementary School includes four classes in grades 2-5 in which students learn about human impact on the aquatic environment.
Adrian Delesdernier, an Education Specialist with the WAVE Destination Academy, believes the project is important.
“We live in a beautiful community and unfortunately every day there is trash in our oceans and wetlands,” Delesdernier said. “I’m so proud that our school continues to educate children on the importance of taking care of our planet by spending this day cleaning up our coastal wetlands.”
World Wetlands Day is an annual international event marking the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971.
“We had a special guest,” Delesdernier said. “Delaney Reynolds, EarthEcho International Youth Leadership Council member, who also participated in the event and was on hand to meet and interview Whigham WAVE students.
“The interview went live on Facebook for EarthEcho International to reach a national audience about the importance of protecting wetlands and to share WAVE participation in the 2017 EarthEcho Water Monitoring Challenge as grant recipients of four water testing kits. Students tested, analyzed and reported on water collected at Black Point Marina in November 2017.”
The EarthEcho Water Monitoring challenge is an international program that runs annually and engages citizens in basic monitoring of local water bodies. EarthEcho International is a non-profit organization established by siblings Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau in honor of their father and also their grandfather, famed marine explorer and conservationist Jacques-Yves Cousteau.