EcoAcademy campers restore Virginia Key sea oats

Campers in FIU’s EcoAcademy recently visited Virginia Key North Point in Miami, FL to take part in a day of ecosystem restoration activities.

Forty campers ages 6-14 worked with volunteers from the community to plant 2,880 sea oat plugs to restore the key’s sea oat dunes. This site has historically been a dumping ground for fill from the Port of Miami.

Sea oats are common along the U.S. east coast and Gulf Coast.

Sea oats are common along the U.S. east coast and Gulf Coast.

Sea oats are a species of grass that grows along the east coast and Gulf Coast of the U.S., as well as in Mexico and the Caribbean. Sea oats are important to barrier island ecology, can defend areas against hurricanes and storms, and are often used in soil stabilization projects.

“Community-based ecosystem restorations such as these as invaluable outreach tools,” said Nick Ogle, environmental coordinator for the FIU School of Environment, Arts and Society. “They offer the public a chance not only to see and understand the costs of environmental degradation, but also to take ownership of their local natural resources. They empower the public to make a real difference with tangible results.”

Sponsored by the Frost Museum of Science, volunteers from the museum, Miami-Dade College, Citizens for a Better South Florida, and Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management also participated in the restoration effort.

Hosted by the School of Environment, Arts and Society in the College of Arts & Sciences, EcoAcademy features marine science activities, swimming, kayaking, and arts and crafts. This summer marks the camp’s sixth year, and in that time EcoAcademy has expanded to include two additional weeks of marine science exploration and fun. Held on the FIU Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami, each week of the camp is thematically driven to include a range of activities.

For additional information, call (305) 919-5568 or email