Florida Keys Community College continues its 2018 VIP Series with “Citizen Science: The Power of People to Help Save the World” on Thursday, March 29 at 7 p.m. in the Tennessee Williams Theatre on the Key West Campus.  The presentation is led by Dr. Tracy Fanara, Program Manager of Environmental Health at Mote Marine Laboratory, and Dr. Patrick Rice, FKCC’s Chief Science and Research Officer.

Citizen science invites the public to collaborate with professional scientists by providing data relating to the natural world for a specific purpose.  Anyone with a smart phone can now easily capture and send images and other data to scientists for official records and analysis.  The presentation will include an historical look of the evolution of citizen science as well current projects to which the public can contribute.  Dr. Fanara will discuss her work with Florida’s red tide and algae blooms and Mote’s Beach Condition Reporting System, as well as the EPA award-winning Campus RainWorks Challenge.  Dr. Rice will cover coral reef mapping and restoration, the Direct Access of Testing and Assessment (DATA) project, and FKCC’s Biofilter Project for canal cleaning applications in the Florida Keys.

Dr. Fanara manages the Environmental Health Program at Mote, investigating the effects of marine and freshwater chemicals on public health. She has extensive experience in hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, engineering consulting, water quality analyses, and “storm chasing.”  Also known as “Inspector Planet,” Dr. Fanara utilizes social media and television, including a part on Science Channel’s “Mythbusters: The Search,” to encourage the public to take action to save the planet.

Dr. Rice supervises FKCC’s grant-funded, scientific research projects, which has included studies to reduce shark by-catch as well as the establishment of new FKCC programs in tropical ornamental mariculture and renewable energy technology.  Prior to that, he contributed to the growth of FKCC’s Marine Science and Technologies programs as faculty, director, and eventually dean.  Rice also develops shark repellent with the company Shark Defense Technologies, LLC.  His expertise on sharks has earned him numerous television appearances, including segments on CBS, Discovery’s Shark Week, MSNBC, PBS, Animal Planet, and ESPN-2.

Sponsored by Centennial Bank, FKCC’s VIP Series invites the community to learn from the visions, ideas, and perspectives of speakers of local, regional, and national prominence.  Tickets are $5 at the door.  Admission is free for students at FKCC and Monroe County schools.

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Click to view the Citizen Science PowerPoint Presentation