FLOWing into Spring
By Melanie Cox

2017 has kept our FLOW volunteers very busy so far and we are so grateful for their dedication to FLOW and to all the hours that they have put in to continue to make FLOW a viable and integral part of our community. As of April 1, we have had 10 schools participate in FLOW, including four college groups, and five Title I schools. We will have six more schools shadow our FLOW program in April and May! We are fortunate to have an amazing core group of volunteers that are enthusiastic about teaching students about phytoplankton and whose enthusiasm and knowledge shines through when they are conversing with the students. The reason we can have so many Title I schools attend our program this year (we have 4 more Title I schools coming in the ensuing months) is because we received grants from Edison and Whale Tale last year, which has not only paid for bus reimbursement for Title I schools, but has also paid for new equipment and materials.

FLOW had another special training led by Joana Tavares-Reager on February 10. This time, new and old volunteers gleaned additional knowledge about microscopy and potentially toxic species identification. While the training was only two hours, we could have easily gone on for a few hours longer, as our volunteers had many intelligent questions and great insights about the topics. Joana shared her wealth of knowledge with us and clarified any questions we had, especially regarding the toxic plankton that we could potentially find as we conduct FLOW each week. It once again reminded us how important the work we do is for the community and the state at large.

The new FLOW Seminar Series has been met with great success and enthusiasm! During the past few months we were fortunate to have incredible speakers such as: Kelly O'Reilly with DFW, Gabrielle Dorr with NOAA, and Priya Ganguili and students from the Earth Science Department at UCI. With over 80 participants spanning the 3 events, we feel that our seminar series is gaining in popularity and reaching our goal of appealing to the community.

Upcoming FLOW Seminar events:

  • May 18, 6:30 pm, Bolsa Chica State Beach:
    Erica Seubert, PhD, Pasadena City & Chaffey Colleges, "Fertilizers, Toilets, and Upwelling: How Human Activity Can Impact Coastal Ocean Productivity"
  • June 15, 6:30 pm, Huntington Beach REI:
    Michael Mori, Environmental Resources Specialist, County of Orange, "Water Quality Monitoring in Orange County"
  • July 20, 6:30 pm, TBD
  • August 17, 6:30 pm, Location to be determined:
    Nancy Caruso, "Get Inspired Changing the World: Community Based Restoration"

Our seminars will continue throughout the year on the third Thursday evening of each month. Our seminars are free to attend, but we do ask that participants RSVP, as attendance is limited. If you would like to RSVP, receive more information about any of our seminars or for information about our FLOW program (Don't forget, we meet every Friday at Bolsa Chica State Beach!), please email FLOW@AmigosdeBolsaChica.org.