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EPA Provides Funds to Educate Teachers and Students About Puerto Rico's Bioluminescent Bays and Lagoons

Release Date: 08/19/2002
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(#02081) San Juan, Puerto Rico -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny today presented a grant of $23,043 to the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust to develop a videotape and teacher's guide to help students and teachers learn about the island's unique bioluminescent bays and lagoons. The educational materials will explain the science behind these complex aquatic ecosystems and discuss the urgent need to protect them. The Conservation Trust will be workin with the Puerto Rico Sea Grant College and the Puerto Rico Department of Education on the project.

"Puerto Rico's bioluminescent bays and lagoons are a symbol of nature's remarkable diversity, as well as its ultimate fragility," said Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. "One of the best ways to protect these unique ecosystems is to help tomorrow's leaders our children realize that we cannot take the environment for granted."

The primary goal of the project is to develop an understanding among young people about the special characteristics of bioluminescent bays and lagoons and the potentially devastating impact of human activities on their health. The educational materials will explore the conditions necessary to support the microorganisms that produce bioluminescence; the interdependence of the organisms in these unique ecosystems; and the effects of road and shoreline runoff, coastline degradation, human activities, and leaks and discharges from boats. The materials are targeted to reach middle and high school students.

The videotape and accompanying teacher's guide will be developed in consultation with island educators and pilot tested before the materials are released. The final products will ultimately be disseminated to ten public school regions.