Outreach Activities

The ASLO 2019 meeting committee carefully coordinated volunteer opportunities designed to assist the citizens of Puerto Rico as they continue to recover from the devastating hurricanes in 2017.  The response to these outreach activities was outstanding. To accommodate busy schedules, activities are planned for the Saturdays before and after the meeting.  However, for those who are not able to arrive early or stay in San Juan following the meeting, opportunities are available during the week. Numbers are limited, and you must be signed up in advance in order to participate.  Registered participants should have heard from their activity organizer(s) prior to the meeting via email.  Each activity is dependent upon weather conditions and is subject to cancellation. Please make sure you check with your activity organizer if you have any questions.

1. Coral Reefs and Mangrove Keys Clean–Up at La Parguera

Organized by graduate students from the Department of Marine Science (DMS) University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez (UPRM), the purpose of this activity is to acquire data for a long-term project at La Parguera, Lajas. DMS-UPRM will provide boats. Participants will travel to La Parguera, Lajas, by charter bus on Friday, March 1st. This will be a full-day activity (approximately 8 hours) on Saturday, March 2nd. Participants will be taken to the site on Friday evening and will stay in dorm rooms at the Department of Marine Science - UPR facilities so that the group can get an early start on Saturday.

Dates: Friday, 1 March, and Saturday, 2 March 2019
Times: Buses will depart from the Puerto Rico Convention Center on Friday afternoon, 1 March, at 6:00 PM and will return to the same location on Saturday evening, 2 March, at approximately 7:30 PM. Travel time is approximately 3 hours each way. Please arrive at the convention center on Friday no later than 5:30 PM to check in and sign a participant release. 

Trip Schedule:

Friday, March 1, 2019

5:30pm  Group meets in front the Puerto Rico Convention Center. (Rosamar Ayala-Torres will be there.)
6:00pm  Departure to La Parguera, Lajas.
9:00pm  Arrival at La Parguera, Lajas.
9:15pm   History Tour about Magueyes Island and Marine Science Department. (Assign rooms)
9:30pm  Dinner (AECiMa)

Saturday, March 2, 2019

7:30am    Breakfast
8:30am    Clean-Up Initiates. Departing to the Keys
12:00pm  Lunch
1:00pm    Laboratory Work (Magueyes Island)
2:30pm Closing activity
4:30pm Departure to San Juan

What to Bring: The organizers suggest that participants bring the following:
Personal toiletry items (Shampoo, Soap, Towel, etc.)
Sunscreen
Rash guard
Gloves
Water shoes
Hat or cap
Beach towel
Insect repellent
Swimsuit
Other Important Details: Allergic Note: If you are allergic to corals, mosquitoes, etc., INFORM the organizers and bring the corresponding medications. Specify the allergy and the medication used. 
Refrigerators are available if you would like to bring your own snacks.
Dinner on Friday and breakfast on Saturday are NOT included.
Snorkeling gear is required. If you don’t bring your own equipment, a near rent option is available. For information on rentals, please contact Paradise Scuba at https://www.paradisescubasnorkelingpr.com or by calling 787-899-7611 or sending an email to paradisescubapr@gmail.com.If reserve let us know the information to arrange the pickup.
Number of Participants: 20 (Maximum)
Cost: $90.00 per person (Includes transportation, overnight accommodations at UPR facilities, and lunch on the boat on Saturday.) This must have been paid in advance.
Other Requirements/Expenses: Dinner on Friday and breakfast on Saturday are not included. However, several dining establishments are within walking distance from UPR.
Other information: The coordinator for this trip is Rosamar Ayala-Torres (rosamar.ayala@upr.edu) (787-385-9841). Other contacts: Miguel Figuerola miguel.figuerola@upr.edu
Aurea Rodríguez auryro@gmail.com

2. Volunteering with P.E.C.E.S

Participants will be painting houses and other tasks as a part of a recovery project organized by P.E.C.E.S. (El Programa de Educación Comunal de Entrega y Servicio), an NGO that fosters social, economic, and educational development of individuals and communities in social disadvantage. The purpose of P.E.C.E.S. is to inspire leaders, with special attention to youngsters, so that they become champions of their own communities. They accomplish these transformations through several programs tied to three core service areas: education (including an alternative education high school); prevention services for at-risk populations; and entrepreneurship and development training. Participants will travel to Punta Santiago, Humacao, by charter bus to paint houses for those affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Date: Saturday, 23 February 2019  
Times: This will be a full-day activity (approximately 8 hours including travel time). Please arrive at the convention center by 7:00 AM to check in, pick up your sack lunch, and sign a participant release. Participants will leave the convention center at 7:30 AM and will arrive back at the convention center at approximately 3:30 PM. Travel time is approximately one hour each way. 
Details: A student identified with a TRI-BETA honor society t-shirt will meet the group at the Convention Center and will go in the bus with the group back and forth to the activity.
What to Bring: Suitable clothing that you do not mind getting stained, including:

  1. Loose-fitting t-shirt
  2. Long trousers/jeans
  3. Closed sport shoes
  4. Cap or hat (sun cover)
  5. Sun block
  6. Insect repellent
  7. Gloves

Number of Participants: 25 each day (Maximum). This must have been paid in advance.
Cost: $40 per person (Includes transportation, water, and lunch on Saturday.)
Other Information: If you have questions about the work or the project, please contact Felix Fontanez at ffontanez@proyectopecesinc.org or call him at 787-587-9422.

3. Restoration, Management and Conservation Project of the Las Cucharillas Marsh

https://www.facebook.com/corredordelyaguazo/

Participants will travel to Cataño to work on projects to restore, clean up, and protect the marsh and the natural resources that this ecosystem harbors for the enjoyment of this and future generations. The activity will consist of an environmental and social justice talk, an interpretative tour of the reserve, and will finish with a mangrove transplant activity. Participants will travel to the site by charter bus. Buses will depart from and return to the Puerto Rico Convention Center. Individuals who prefer may Uber or use their own transportation to get to the site.

Date: Saturday, 2 March 2019
Time: This will be a half-day activity (approximately 5 hours including travel time). Please arrive at the convention center by 8:00 AM to check in and sign a participant release.
Details:
Participants will leave the Puerto Rico Convention Center (PRCC) at 8:30 AM on Saturday, 2 March. Travel time is approximately 15 minutes each way.You will spend approximately 4 hours at the activity and will travel back to the PRCC, arrival time estimated to be 1:30 PM.
What to Bring: Suitable clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty including the following:

  1. Long sleeve T-shirt
  2. Long trousers/jeans
  3. Closed sport shoes (waterproof boots or tennis shoes)
  4. Cap or hat (sun cover)
  5. Sun block
  6. Insect repellent
  7. Gloves

Number of Participants: 50 (Maximum)
Cost:
$10 per person (Includes water and bus transportation.) This must have been paid in advance.
Other Information: If you have questions about the work or the project, please contact Luis Marrero at 787-630-7106 or email lrecaras@gmail.com.

4. Guakia Colectivo Agroecologico

This is a very physical eco-agriculture activity involving farming and planting at local farms in Dorado. Participants will work with Guakia Colectivo Agroecologico, an environmental justice organization based in Puerto Rico. These farms are maintained to provide food following the 2017 hurricanes when the devastation disrupted the shipment of supplies into Puerto Rico. Participants will travel to the site by charter bus. Buses will depart from and return to the Puerto Rico Convention Center.

Date: Saturday, 2 March 2019
Times: This will be a half-day activity (approximately 6 hours including travel time). Please arrive at the convention center by 7:00 AM to check in, pick up your sack lunch, and sign a participant release. Participants will leave the Puerto Rico Convention Center at 7:30 AM. Travel time is approximately 40 minutes each way. Arrival time back at the PRCC is estimated to be 1:30 PM.
Details:
  A student identified with a TRI-BETA honor society t-shirt will meet participants at the convention center and will go with them on the bus back and forth to the activity.  Participants will spend approximately 4 hours at the farm.

What to Bring: Suitable clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty including the following:

  1. Long sleeve T-shirt
  2. Long trousers/jeans
  3. Closed sport shoes (waterproof boots or tennis shoes)
  4. Cap or hat
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Insect repellent
  7. Gloves

Number of Participants: 15 (Maximum)
Cost: $50 per person (Includes lunch, water, and bus transportation) This must have been paid in advance.

5. Monitoring Dive at a Coral Reef Ecosystem at Escambrón Beach and Condado Lagoon

This activity is offered two times, but is limited to one diver on each date. The diver will work with Manuel Nieves, a graduate student at DMS – UPRM. You must be a certified scuba diver to participate in this activity.  Note: Participants will travel with Manuel to the site by private automobile. Departure is anticipated to be from and returning to the Puerto Rico Convention Center.

There will be 2 shallow dives each day. Escambrón Bay will have a depth range from 15-25' while Condado Bay will have a range from 7-9'. Although Condado is pretty shallow and can sometimes be sampled through snorkeling, it can become turbid if weather conditions become aggressive. Therefore the organizers prepares for the worst conditions. Weather permitting, the dives will be conducted. However, a visibility threshold of 4m (~12' horizontally) is set to conduct fish censuses. If visibility is <4m, sampling will be aborted.

Date: Saturday, 23 February 2019, and Saturday, 2 March 2019
Times: Travel time is approximately five minutes each way. Please arrive at the convention center no later than 7:15 AM to check in and sign a participant release. Departure time is 7:30 AM. The dive will conclude by 12:00 or 1:00 PM
What to Bring (and NOT to Bring): Please bring your own water, snacks or medication you might need, coral friendly sunblock or rashguard. Water temperature should be in the range of 25-27 C (77-82 F), which should be comfortable for most of you. We do, however, recommend using a wet-suit to avoid undesired contact with submerged structures or the occasional jellyfish (painful but not dangerous unless you are allergic).

  • Please refrain from carrying unnecessary equipment. The less you carry, the more comfortable you'll be in the water and less things will be prone to malfunctioning and causing trouble. We recommend just basic diving equipment (mask, snorkel, and fins), BC and regulator. Underwater cameras are optional. You will not be needing a diving computer, but feel free to bring yours if you have it. The leader also give you the dive information (bottom time, max depth, etc.) after each dive if you are interested in logging them.
  • Before beginning each dive, we will take 5-10 minutes to go over basic emergency procedures outside and inside the water, and review basic skills on neutral buoyancy, clearing a flooded mask, and recovering a lost regulator.

Number of Participants: One diver on each day
Additional Information: You are responsible for your own diving equipment EXCEPT SCUBA tanks; The trip coordinator will provide those. Scuba Dogs is the closest dive shop. It is right by Escambrón Bay and is probably your best rental option. Please make the arrangements asap to rent your equipment beforehand; we want to start the dives as early as possible, 7:30-8:00 submerging. Please contact Scuba Dogs at 787-977-0000 or go to http://www.new.scubadogs.net/about.html. Please make arrangements at least 24 hours before your dive so you pick up your equipment the day before.

For more information about this activity, please contact Manuel Nieves Ortiz at 787-459-1949 or manuel.nieves1@upr.edu.

6. Institute for Socio-Ecological Research, Inc., Diadema Antillarum (Sea Urchin) Restoration Project at Fajardo Coral Reefs - THIS ACTIVITY WAS CANCELLED BY THE ORGANIZER.


7. Water Quality Monitoring in Different Zones within the San Juan Metropolitan Area

Participants will be involved in water monitoring activities under the direction of Samuel Suleiman, Sociedad Ambiente Marino, Inc. (SAM)/Marine Environment Society (http://www.sampr.org). Participants will monitor at various locations close to the Puerto Rico Convention Center. Participants will meet at the Puerto Rico Convention Center and then will walk to the locations. The water quality meter will be lowered from a dock. No special gear or skills are needed.

Dates: Tuesday, 26 February, and Thursday, 28 February 2019
Times: This will be approximately a three-hour activity in the afternoon. Please arrive at the main entrance of the convention center no later than 1:00 PM to check in and to sign a participant release form. The group will depart for the first sampling site at 1:15 PM. Arrival time back at the PRCC is estimated to be 4:00 PM.
Details: For this trip, no special clothes, gear or skills are needed. However, we will be walking short distances, thus we recommend you wear light clothes, tennis shoes, hat and sunglasses. Bring your tropical attire, your best attitude and prepare to have a good time while you learn about water quality measures with Eureka Water Probes around the San Juan Bay area.
Other Requirements/Recommendations:
  As part of your training, we highly recommend you download the following app(s) on your phone or tablet:
MantaLink (for iphone) or Manta2 Control Software (for android)
Number of Participants: 10 (Maximum) per day
Cost: $25 per person. This must have been paid in advance.
Additional information: Trip coordinators are Fabiola Rivera and Roger Guzmán. You can contact them with questions at sam@sampr.org.

8. Coral Reef Fragments Recovery Dive from Ongoing Restoration Project at the Escambron and Condado Lagoon

Participants will take part in dives to recover coral reef fragments at the Escambron and Condado lagoon. This activity is part of an ongoing restoration project under the direction of Samuel Suleiman, Sociedad Ambiente Marino, Inc. (SAM)/Marine Environment Society (http://www.sampr.org). This activity will involve snorkeling. The lagoon is located 10 minutes from the Puerto Rico Convention Center. Transportation will be provided by the organizer.

Date: Wednesday, 27 February 2019
Times:  Due to preferred weather conditions, this now will be a four-hour activity in the morning. Participants must be at the main entrance of the Puerto Rico Convention Center at 8:00 AM to check in and sign a release form. The group will depart at 8:30 AM to Escambron Beach and will arrive back at the convention center at approximately 12:30 PM.
What to Bring: In additional to snorkeling gear, which is required for this activity (mask, snorkel, and fins), we recommend you wear a wet suit (2mm or less; it's Puerto Rico!) and gloves to avoid injuries by jellyfish and/or fire corals.  
Number of Participants: 12 (Maximum)
Cost: $50 per person will be paid directly to the organizer on the day of the activity.
Other Requirements/Expenses: Snorkeling gear is required for this activity (mask, snorkel, and fins) and can be rented from the organizer. Please contact Samuel Suleiman at samuelsuleiman@gmail.com to make arrangements for rental.
Additional information: If you need more information about the trip, please contact Gerardo Cabrera, Sociedad Ambiente Marino <samprorg@gmail.com>.

9. Educational Workshop About the Role and Importance of Aquatic Macro-Invertebrates in Fresh Water Quality at the Botanical Garden of Rio Pedras

(Sponsored by Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research, University of Puerto Rico, Natural Science Faculty, Department of Environmental Science (LTER – UPR)  http://luq.lter.network/)

This workshop will take place at the Botanical Garden of Rio Piedras (locate near UPR Rio Piedras// http://www.upr.edu/jardin-botanico/).

The 1st stop is Las Curias Reservoir (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJeGwPQ6Ywg), and the 2nd stop is El Señorial Avenue. The final stop is the Botanical Garden Rio Piedras.

Once at the botanical garden, participants will hear a presentation about freshwater fauna (macroinvertebrates and fish) and why they are considered to be good bioindicators of water quality. Following the discussion, they will get into the water to collect macro-invertebrates with nets and will identify the microhabitats that they inhabit. Participants in this workshop must be willing to get into the water and can expect a medium-level of physical activity. The botanical garden is approximately 15 minutes from the Puerto Rico Convention Center. Group transportation, lunch and water will be provided. The group will depart from and arrive back at the convention center.
Date: Saturday, 2 March 2019
Times: This will be a four-hour activity in the morning. Participants must be at the main entrance of the Puerto Rico Convention Center at 7:30 AM to check in, to pick up your sack lunch, and sign a release form. The group will depart at 8:00 AM and will arrive back at the convention center at 12:00 PM.
What to Bring: Appropriate gear is recommended including long-sleeved shirts, long pants (preferably exercise pants or leggings; jeans are not recommended), rubber boots, cap or hat, mosquito repellent, and sunscreen. Lunch is provided, but participants may want also to bring their own snack.
Number of Participants: 25 (Maximum)
Cost: $35.00 per person (Includes transportation, lunch and water) This must have been paid in advance.
Additional information: Trip coordinators are Roberto Reyes (roberto.reyes3@upr.edu), Wesley Torres (wesley.torres@upr.edu), Tatiana Barreto, Marla Santos, and Rosa Saez. Please contact them if you need more information.

10. Educational Workshop About the Role and Importance of Aquatic Macro-Invertebrates in Fresh Water Quality (Quebrada Sonadora River at El Yunque National Forest)

(Sponsored by Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research, University of Puerto Rico, Natural Science Faculty, Department of Environmental Science (LTER – UPR)  http://luq.lter.network/)

This workshop will take place in the Quebrada Sonadora and Mameyes River at El Yunque National Forest https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/elyunque/about-forest/?cid=fsbdev3_042999 

The 1st stop is Sabana Field Station for a presentation video: Water from the Mountain. The 2nd stop is Puente Roto to visit Rio Mameyes, and the 3rd stop is El Verde Field Station. There participants will walk in the forest. (Be ready for coquies and maybe bioluminescent fungi.)

Participants will hear a presentation about freshwater fauna, macro-invertebrates, riparian forest. Following the discussion, they will get into the water to collect macro-invertebrates and fish, swim and snorkel in some pools. Group transportation will be provided and will depart from and arrive back at the convention center. Note: Participants in this workshop must be willing to get into the water and can expect a medium-level of physical activity.

Date: Saturday, 2 March 2019
Times: Travel time is approximately one hour each way. Participants must be at the main entrance of the Puerto Rico Convention Center at 12:30 to check in, pick up your sack lunch, and sign a release form. The group will depart at 1:00 PM and will arrive back at the convention center at 6:00 PM
What to Bring: Appropriate gear is recommended including long-sleeved shirts, long pants (preferably exercise pants or leggings; jeans are not recommended), rubber boots, cap or hat, mosquito repellent, Ziplock bags for cell phones, wallets and sunscreen. Headlamps of flash light if you have one. Lunch is provided, but participants may want to bring their own snack.
Number of Participants: 20 (Maximum)
Cost: $60.00 per person (Includes transportation, lunch, and water) This must have been paid in advance.
Additional information: Trip coordinators are Omar Perez-Reyes (omar.perez15@upr.edu), Jesus Gomez (jesuslobo06@gmail.com), Tamara Heartsill-Scalley (theartsill@fs.fed.us), Jomarys Torres, Noelia Baez, and Christ Nytch. Please contact them if you need more information.