Eco-Teers In Action!

With only a few days into the month of March, the Eco-teers have already dedicated much of their time in restoring our coastal habitats and spreading climate change awareness.

1000 sea oats were planted at Fort Lauderdale Beach in partnership with the Youth Environmental Alliance (YEA) in an effort to restore coastal sand dunes in South Florida. Sand dunes provide habitat for several coastal species and protection from storms. Not even the blazing heat could have stopped Ezequiel, Lori, Rami, Han, Sohail, Kevin, Christopher, Laurent, Madison and Faith from getting the job done.

In downtown Fort Lauderdale, some of the Eco-teers spent their day at the Science Festival hosted by the Museum of Discovery and Science. Tiffany and Tori provided a climate presentation discussing the latest climate science, impacts and solutions as part of their climate training provided by the CLEO Institute. 

The science festival also allowed students to compete in the build a better world challenge. The challenge allowed students to design solutions in cutting waste and boosting efficiency in the fight against climate change. Ines, Giuliana and Karen participated in the challenge and won first prize for their project on harvesting rainwater to reduce carbon emissions released from local water treatment plants.

Way To Go Eco-Teers!

Join in on the next projector to become a member please email:

Eco-teers: BCPS Climate Youth Summit

On February 10th, The Eco-teers participated in the fifth annual Broward County Public Schools Youth Climate Summit as a climate sponsor for the event. Hundreds of Broward County students gathered at Pompano Beach High School to discuss the solutions they can implement in their community.

Karen Hendriks, Ines Rosales, and Giuliana Mudryj shared their experience as Eco-teers and encouraged students to join them at Flamingo gardens to make environmental change. Along with their optimistic perspectives, they brought along some popular pollinators such as the Monarch and Zebra Longwing butterfly to highlight the importance of the role they have and how climate change severely increases biodiversity loss.

Eco-teers Dune Restoration

On February 4th, the Eco-teers visited Charnow Park in Hollywood Beach, Florida. The focus of their work on dune restorations was a huge success! 3000 sea oats were planted in partnership with the Youth Environmental Alliance. The morning brought in tremendous amount of rain, but that did not stop the amazing volunteers from serving their community.

Sand dunes play an important role in our Florida beaches, providing habitat for several coastal species and protection from storms. The dunes are a naturally-occurring accumulation of wind-blown sand. As they grow they are colonized by plants such as sea oats, sand spurs and beach morning glory, to name a few.

The Eco-teers planted sea oats due to Its massive root system which is capable of holding soil and sand in place during extreme weather events such as hurricanes and tropical storms. This plant’s habitat puts it at the forefront of shoreline protection.

Acting as a wall, sand dunes help protect beaches and property from damage from high winds, storm surges, waves and tides. The dunes are the first line of defense for homes and businesses. it’s important to avoid walking on them as foot traffic in dunes tramples vegetation and causes erosion over time.

If you would like to make meaningful and impactful change in your community, please email the Eco-teer Coordinator, Glennys Navarrete, at [email protected] for an application and updates on the upcoming projects.

The Climate Crisis 2022: Part 3 – Climate Change Impacts to Marginalized Communities

Last month, Flamingo Garden’s Eco-teer Ines Rosales discussed Climate Change Impacts affecting the world and Florida specifically in Part 2 of the “Climate Change 101” as presented by the Eco-teers as part of their November 2022 Climate Fair. This month Eco-teer Karen Hendriks discusses how climate change impacts underserved communities disproportionately.

The climate crisis impacts the most vulnerable living in our community the hardest. Population growth increases resource demand and competition for food and water, which is disproportionately felt in developing countries. A Harvard Study predicts that by 2030, nine out of ten of the major crops in the world will experience reduced or stagnant rates, at least in part due to climate change, while average prices will increase dramatically as a result. Our most vulnerable communities will be least able to afford the increased prices.

People depend on nature to provide food and fresh water, regulate climate, prevent floods and disease. Climate change can fundamentally transform current ecosystems and food webs with possible consequences ranging from increased pest and disease outbreaks, reduced productivity in fisheries, and decreasing agricultural yields.

80% of ecological processes that form the foundation for life on Earth are already impacted. We are experiencing the worst wave of species die-offs in 65 million years with 1 MILLION species at risk of extinction within decades. Marginalized communities, notably in developing countries, are most at risk from the loss of biodiversity since they often rely directly on ecosystem goods and services.

The impacts of climate change include warming temperatures, changes in precipitation, increases in the frequency or intensity of some extreme weather events, and rising sea levels. These impacts threaten our health by affecting the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the weather we experience.

Extreme heat is the deadliest natural disaster in the United States, killing more people on average (about 600 per year) than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods combined. By 2050 in South Florida, we can expect to live almost half of the year in what is considered “danger days” where it will be dangerous to work or play outside. Spencer Glendon, a senior fellow at the Woods Hole Research Center, which does climate science research, thinks most of Florida will be in the danger zone — defined as spells above 96 degrees when relative humidity is above 40% — 3 months of the year by 2040. According to Glendon, Disney World will be closed for long periods of time “because it won’t be safe to take children there, and it certainly won’t be safe to be in a fuzzy suit.”

Extreme heat from climate change affects marginalized communities disproportionately. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development does not require A/C units in affordable public housing, and tenants cannot afford to purchase AC on their own. Likewise, the poor are less likely to afford the higher utility bills. People who rely on public transportation, walking, and biking are also more prone to be exposed to extreme heat.

To put it simply, not everyone experiences climate change the same. People who experience oppression are less likely to have general protections in our society. The largest polluters on the planet are also those who suffer the least from the dangers of climate change.

People who experience oppression because of race, income, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, etc. are less likely to have general protections in our society, and even less likely to have access to resources to adapt to our changing climate or pass policies and legislation that are fair and culturally significant. Disenfranchised communities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis because they experience impacts first and worst.

To fully understand the impacts of the climate crisis it’s important to understand that we don’t all live the same way. The reality is that as our temperatures continue to rise, and the climate crisis impacts get worse, our most vulnerable living in our community will get hit the hardest. The climate crisis is a humanitarian issue. Understanding the difference between equality, equity, and justice are key in becoming an advocate for climate policies.

About the Author: Karen Hendriks is a Senior at Cypress Bay Highschool and a volunteer member of Flamingo Gardens’ Eco-teers. Her blog Climate Change Impacts to Marginalized Communities is Part 3 of the “Climate Change 101” presentation by the Eco-teers as part of their November 2022 Climate Fair. Look for Part 4, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption Solutions, to follow next month.

Eco-teers Tree Tops Park Invasive Plant Removal

On Sunday, January 29, 2023, the Eco-teers volunteered at Tree Tops Park in Davie. The project focused on removing invasive plant species such as the snake plant.

Snake plants are just one of the many exotic plants that become invasive when planted outdoors in Florida. These plant species spread ferociously and can displace and prevent native plant growth. A healthy plant community has a variety of shrubs and trees, but invasive plants cause biological pollution thus reducing plant diversity.

When removing snake plants, always make sure to pull or dig out all the roots, which look like carrots, or the plant will re-establish itself.

The Eco-teers successfully filled twenty large trash bins of these invasive plants by shoveling out the roots from the ground while simultaneously pulling down any vines or clusters attached.

Would you like to participate in the next project?


If you would like to make an environmental impact in your community, contact [email protected] to join the Eco-teers!

Eco-teers Dune Restoration

On December 17th, the Eco-teers worked on a dune restoration in Fort Lauderdale Beach alongside the Youth Environmental Alliance (YEA). 1004 sea oats were planted on the beach located just half a block North of Sunrise and A1A.

Sand dunes provide natural coastal protection against storm surge, reducing coastal flooding and structural damage. Sand dunes also provided rich habitat for specific vegetation and wildlife.

The sea oats are a Hardy and salt tolerant plant that play a major role in building and stabilizing the dunes. They help trap wind-blown sand which helps in maintain the form of the dunes and they have an extensive root system that grows horizontally and acts as the main support to keep the dune raised.

Although many signs were present alerting visitors to not walk over the dune, there was visible destruction of the dunes due to walking trails created by visitors. To help maintain our dunes, avoid walking through these grassy dunes to prevent sand displacement and promote the success and growth of our natural coastal protection.

If you would like to join in the next dune restoration, contact Glennys Navarrete at [email protected] 

Eco-teers Climate Fair

On Sunday, November 13, 2022, the Eco-teers presented their first Climate Fair in the courtyard of Flamingo Gardens from 10am to 4pm.

The Eco-teers and other community partners presented the fair to educate the public on the impacts of climate change and ways they can make a difference. Guests could visit booths and have their “climate passport” stamped for discounted admission to Flamingo gardens for the day.

The Eco-teers presented a special “Climate 101” presentation in the Mary N. Porter Learning Center at 11:30 in partnership with the CLEO Institute, describing the effects of fossil fuels on the planet and the resulting effects of global warming.

Thanks to all our community partners: Right to Clean Water, MODS, Activities with Alexa, SeaTurtle OP, Cotton Talk, the CLEO institute, and MangroLife.

Would you like to participate in the next project? Email [email protected] to apply!


The Climate Crisis 2022: Part 1- The Greenhouse Gas Effect

Hello, my name is Tiffany. I am a member of the Flamingo Garden’s Eco-teers, a volunteer outreach group that focus on environmental projects in Broward County promoting habitat protection, coastal resilience, and climate education.

Today we have teamed up with the CLEO Institute to help connect the dots between climate science, impacts and solutions. The CLEO Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to climate education and advocacy. All the information presented in this article comes from reputable, scientific organizations and institutions.

Before you can understand the climate crisis you need to understand the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse gas effect is the natural heating (global warming) of the Earth’s surface by heat-trapping gases (called greenhouse gases) in the atmosphere that trap heat radiating from Earth toward space.2

The flow of incoming solar energy is equivalent to the flow of outgoing heat from Earth towards space. When the outgoing heat (outgoing because it’s heading back to outer space) energy encounters greenhouse gases, the gasses trap the outgoing heat keeping it in the atmosphere! The heat is then re-radiated back towards the Earth again, creating a blanketing effect. This supplemental heating of the Earth’s surface by heat-trapping gases is called the greenhouse gas effect. The greenhouse gas effect is necessary for life on Earth. It keeps the Earth at a perfect temperature. Without it, we would live on a frozen tundra.


The problem is that TOO MUCH of that energy that is supposed to be outgoing into space, is instead being trapped by greenhouse gases. Why? Because human kind has increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to burning fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gasses, like Carbon dioxide (CO2).

Before the Industrial Revolution, natural climate variation caused atmospheric CO2 to vary between 200 ppm (parts per million) in the ice ages and 300 ppm in warmer temperatures. Today we are at 414 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, a statistically significant differenceRemember, that when we talk about climate change – we are taking about a change in precipitation and temperature patterns over a long period of time, spanning up from hundreds to millions of years.

Scientists have identified how much CO2 comes from natural sources, and how much comes from combusted fossil fuel sources. Compared to other carbon sources, carbon from fossil fuels has a distinctly different “signature,” or molecular fingerprint. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas, and it is known as the driver of climate change. CO2 is released through human activities like burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Certain natural processes release CO2, like plants and human respiration and volcanic eruptions, but natural processes are not causing this statistical increase – the rate at which humans are pumping greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is.

There are some that do not believe in climate change but there is a scientific consensus on the matter. 99% of international climate scientists agree that global warming is increasing, it is caused by human activity, and it is happening now.

Think of it this way – If a fireman calls you and tells you they are 97% sure your house is on fire, are you going to stand around and think about the 3% of uncertainty or are you going to ask him to put out the fire?

Experts are telling us our planet is on fire- what we do next will determine the future of the planet.

The climate crisis impacts everything that we care about. We all have one thing in common- Earth, and it’s the only one we have.  Everything we care about is connected to our planet, which is why we must do everything we can to preserve it. Now.


About the Author- Tiffany Engel is a Senior at David Posnack Jewish Day School and volunteer member of Flamingo Gardens’ Eco-teers. Her blog The Greenhouse Gas Effect is Part 1 of the “Climate Change 101” presentation presented by the Eco-teers as part of their November 2022 Climate Fair. Look for Part II, Climate Change Impacts, to follow next month.

More Green, Less Screen

The amount of time children spend outside in nature has decreased significantly over the years, while the amount of time spent in front of entertainment devices has increased. It is said that the average American child spends less than 30 minutes a day outside in unstructured play but spends more than seven hours a day in front of an electronic screen.

Whether you grew up in the city, in the suburbs, or in the country, chances are you probably spent time outside playing and exploring. Maybe you climbed trees in the backyard or rode bicycles down the street to the corner store or played ball in the vacant lot.

Unfortunately, young children today do not have as much interaction with nature as previous generations and it’s taking a toll. Childhood obesity rates have doubled and pediatric prescriptions for antidepressants have risen tremendously.

In his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv coined the term “nature deficit disorder” to describe the then-controversial theory that detachment from the outdoors results in poor physical and mental health for both adults and children.

While not a recognized medical condition, Nature Deficit Disorder has gained scientific traction. Since his book, hundreds of studies have shown a connection between exposure to the outdoors and better health, as well as better learning and cognitive development, among children.

According to a 2010 report released by the National Wildlife Federation, Whole Child: Developing Mind, Body, and Spirit Through Outdoor Play, the benefits of nature can be seen on many levels. The report contends that outdoor play increases fitness and builds active, healthy bodies, raises levels of Vitamin D to protect against a myriad of childhood health problems, and improves vision.

Exposure to nature may also be effective in reducing ADHD symptoms. Outdoor play reduces children’s’ stress, anxiety, and depression levels, while enhancing a child’s social skills and ability to form relationships.

The reports also contends that children that participate in outdoor environmental education programs score higher in math, reading, writing, and listening skills, and significantly increases critical thinking among students.

Flamingo Gardens has been at the forefront of providing environmental education for almost 40 years, providing fieldtrips to about 28,000 school children annually. But we can do more!

That’s why we’re launching “More Green, Less Screen” a new program to encourage kids to put away their electrical devices and spend more time outdoors. Look for #MoreGreenLessScreen campaign to come in 2023.

Eco-teers Tree Tops Park Invasive Plant Removal

On Sunday, October 23, 2022, the Eco-teers volunteered at Tree Tops Park in Davie. The project focused on removing invasive plant species such as the air potato and the snake plant

These plant species spread ferociously and can displace and prevent native plant growth. A healthy plant community has a variety of shrubs and trees, but invasive plants cause biological pollution thus reducing plant diversity.

Glennys, Luisa, Ezequiel, and Bee of the Eco-teers successfully removed 384 pounds of these noxious weeds by shoveling out the roots from the ground while simultaneously pulling down any vines or clusters attached.

The fight continues at Tree Tops Park and much of Florida so the Eco-teers will be returning to help clear out more saturated areas. Would you like to participate in the next project? Email [email protected] to apply!