Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Kathleen Sealey

Second Committee Member

Don DeAngelis

Third Committee Member

Keene Haywood


Biological diversity is an important measurement for restoration success in Biscayne National Park, Florida. Projects guided by the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, CERP, changed the hydrology of South Florida to more historic conditions ultimately costing over $10 billion dollars and more than 60 years to complete. Therefore, the timing and cost creates an incentive to measure the success of these restoration projects and one way to measure restoration success is to evaluate the number of species in an ecosystem. Continued support of CERP throughout South Florida is vital for future projects to progress. An environmental education approach to engage the local stakeholders with scientific research in Biscayne National Park is a tool to increase long-term support for CERP. Environmental education increases knowledge and stewardship for participants involved in programs and connects participants to research projects. Biodiversity Counts! measures students change in attitudes toward the environment throughout the 5-week program. Finally, the program will be turned over to the National Park Service for implementation to a broader community where it will be used for creating reports with the biological diversity data collected to use for better resource management decisions.


CERP; Environmental; Education: Biscayne; Bay; Florida