FLOW Returns with More to Offer
By Amber Davis

We are happy to report that FLOW is back in action! June 18th was our first FLOW Friday of this year, and the first since the lockdown in March 2020. Since returning to FLOW activities, we are being very mindful of the need to make some proactive changes in order to ensure the survival of the FLOW Program, keep ourselves and our participants safe, and not only maintain our program but grow it.

To address concerns regarding health - and taking into consideration the fact that a large part of the FLOW Program takes place inside the State Beach Visitor Center - we are developing new safety protocols for our weekly plankton collections as well as any field trips (once we are ready for them!). These protocols will include requiring either vaccinations or masks while inside, sanitizing the equipment after use, and more frequent hand washing, with the aim to protect ourselves, our volunteers, and the students and families we educate.

Another change is to the schedule; so far this year we have gathered for FLOW Fridays at 1:30pm every week, but as our plankton collection is dependent on an outgoing tide to avoid our nets getting caught on the bridge pilings, we’ve decided to switch to our alternating schedule (9:30 am or 1:30pm) starting the first week of October. At the end of the year we will assess the modified schedule and adjust if needed. A calendar of dates and times for the rest of this year will be posted on the Amigos de Bolsa Chica website.

Along with our refashioned schedule, we are also working on new FLOW Program shirts, training to use new chemical analysis equipment (user guides and training sessions to come!), welcoming two new volunteers and working to develop a new community science program alongside FLOW. The program is being developed with the help of BCER land manager Melissa Loebl and the Aquarium of the Pacific to monitor the new green sea turtle population in the full tidal basin. We are excited to embrace the “new” and hope it brings rejuvenation and growth back into our program.