Community Service

Beach and Road Clean-ups

Every few months all of the sharklab team spends the day collecting trash on local beaches and roads in Bimini. This is a labor-intensive process where any trash spotted by our team is picked up and transported to the local dump. Over the years the sharklab has participated in numerous North Bimini and South Bimini road and beach cleanups, each time filling ~ 25 trash bags or ~ one tonne of waste. As a part of the process, the sharklab invites local schools and businesses to participate to help educate the importance of proper trash disposal and the benefits of maintaining a clean island. 

Invasive Species Removal
The sharklab plays a crucial role in helping to minimize invasive species on the island and in the waters surrounding the island. Invasive species not only introduce foreign substances to the island but also compete with the native plants and animals. As a result the sharklab helps to minimize the impact that these invasive species are having on Bimini by aiding in their removal.
Last year the sharklab contributed to the removal of over 50 Australian Pine trees on Bimini. Australian Pines are an invasive pine tree that grows quickly and competes with the native plants for space and sunlight. Around the island, areas that were once lush with local Bimini flora are now in the shadows of the Australian Pine. In an attempt to help the native plants take back their island, the sharklab makes a consistent effort each year to remove as many of the Australian Pine trees as possible, while simultaneously planting native plants in their place.
The plants, however, are not the only one’s suffering from invasive species. In the waters around Bimini, another fight is taking place. Lionfish have reared their spiny heads and have become a terror on the local reefs. In an effort to minimize the impact that these predators have, for the last three years, the sharklab has participated in the Lionfish Bash. This is a local tournament founded by the Woody family to help raise funds for the Woody Foundation and awareness for spinal injuries. The goal of the tournament is to spend a day and remove as many of the lionfish in the surrounding reefs of Bimini while concurrently raising money for the foundation. Thus far the sharklab has brought home a first place prize and two, second place prizes for the most lionfish captured. In all, over the last three years the sharklab has assisted in the removal of >1000 lionfish from the Bimini waters. 
Vet Clinics
Removal is not the only activity the Sharklab participates in. The Sharklab also plays a crucial role in stray prevention, including active participation in the island vet clinic that takes place every few months. For this clinic, the Sharklab assists in capturing feral cats and dogs around the island and assisting in spaying and neutering them. This ultimately helps prevent the feral animals from breeding, keeping homeless pets around the island at a minimum. In addition, the Sharklab has assisted with adopting out cats and dogs that would not have had homes otherwise. We seek out local strays to adopt as opposed to searching elsewhere. Preventative procedures like this help keep the island healthy and safe. 
The Sharklab has also had the pleasure of taking part in building the first playground that Bimini has ever seen. In 2012, we sent all of our volunteers up to Porgy bay for an entire day to assist in assembling a fully functional playground that the youth of Bimini enjoy to this day. The playground consists of a swing-set, tire swing, monkey bars, and seesaw. Part of the project also involved an area trash clean up and the planting of several coconut palm tree saplings donated by the Sharklab. The park has been named Porgy Bay Park and still today, almost a full year after construction, the playground is rarely empty.
Bimini is our home and we find it important to help maintain the cleanliness, healthiness and happiness of the island. Participating in community service projects not only helps the island but it also helps us. 

The Bimini Biological Field Station has been involved with aiding Miami-Dade inner city youth since its inception and strives to educate the public about the benefits of marine research within our local aquatic ecosystems. Until a recent decrease in funding, we were able to train 25 students annually for over 17 years, including both Dade and Broward science teachers prior to 2001.

In the 1990's, Dr. Samuel Gruber collaborated with the University of Miami's School of Communications to expand his research program into a "hands-on" field research experience for over 1,000 inner city students. “Sharks: A Bimini Journal” documents the experiences of four of those students, who travel with Professor Gruber to the Bimini Biological Field Station, where they assist his research team in tracking sharks, measuring tidal variations, and recording shark migration patterns. Through their own hard work, determination, and perseverance, they were able to overcome a fear of these creatures and interact with them on a final shark dive.

If you are interested in learning more about an opportunity to collaborate with our research facility and ongoing projects, please visit our Contact Us page and submit your inquiry. 

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