Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Winding Waters kids pluck squishy scourge from Weeki Wachee River

WEEKI WACHEE — Lyngbya is a non-native plantlike organism — actually a cyanobacterium or blue-green alga. It does not belong in Florida, and it causes problems.

"Manatees eat eel grass," said Winding Waters K-8 sixth-grader Marleen Ohr, 11, "and there's this Lyngbya; it covers the sun so the eel grass can't grow."

Marleen and her classmates recently visited the Springs Coast Environmental Education Center in Weeki Wachee to learn about the invasive algae and to help clear the spring-fed Weeki Wachee River under the supervision of the center's director, Cheryl Paradis.

"I was inspired by the Rotary clubs' project to clean Lyngbya out of the Weeki Wachee River," Paradis said.

She volunteered with that effort and said she thought, "Wow, this would be a really good experience for my students."

She had to go through the permit process, first with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"You can't just remove anything that you want out of the river," she said.

The students set out in kayaks and did a bit of a nature trip before the cleanup. Then they climbed out of the kayaks and walked or swam through the water, collecting the offensive organisms and putting them in Paradis' kayak. From there, she would see to it that the collected mats of algae were removed to an area where they could dry out.

Stacy Lucky is a Winding Waters P.E. teacher who, with fellow P.E. teacher Denise Suiters, accompanied the students to the center. Lucky saw the outing as a mix of science and physical education.

"I think it's a great experience for the kids to see nature hands-on and see what kayaks are like," she said.

Adam Schad, 11, was in the water with the Lyngbya, which was "heavy, squishy, green." He said he learned "that the Lyngbya is not good for plants, because it covers the plant so it doesn't get sunlight."

William Diggs, 11, went on to explain that "plants and small animals need (eel) grass to live on because bigger animals can kill them."

Although Xiohaly Sambolin, 11, now knows about eel grass, she liked being away from the classroom.

"We got to go kayaking. We swam in the water," she said.

For Kayla Gorton, 11, the best part of the morning was "going down the river," where they learned "about the outside and wildlife and stuff."

Winding Waters kids pluck squishy scourge from Weeki Wachee River 09/19/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 20, 2013 3:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.