John Atwater loves to go manatee watching right down the block. He lives in Vero Beach, Florida, on an island smack in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. But John’s worried about wildlife and his community. Over the past few years, climate change has been shaking up lagoons. Rising temperatures have fueled an outbreak of algal blooms, causing large-scale fish die offs. Now, John’s a water ambassador for EarthEcho and is trying to figure out how to protect the lagoon.

To get some advice, John sat down with Dr. Duane De Freese, the Executive Director of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, to discuss how to create change for communities that are wrestling with very different water issues on the lagoon.

Music: Discovery Harbor, Sunday Lights, and Waterbourne by Blue Dot Sessions, No Squirrell by Podington Bear. Our theme song is by Ladybug Music.

Episode art by: Lily Arzt

*Imagine If listeners, we want to let you know that this is the second version we’re releasing of this episode. Some of the research in the first episode was mischaracterized and so we went back to dig deeper and give a more accurate representation. We apologize and hope you’ll enjoy listening to the episode!

Resources for Environmental Educators:

John’s passion for bringing together scientists, policymakers, and community members to collectively address environmental challenges in his coastal hometown is clear. If you’re interested in following suit, head on over to eePRO to check out the Environmental Issues Forums, which provide tools, training, and support for engaging people in productive discussions about sticky issues affecting the environment and communities. NAAEE’s series of “crosswalks” for environmental literacy are also useful for teachers and curriculum developers interested in designing lessons linked to the core concepts and principles needed for ocean, climate, atmosphere science, and earth science literacy.