The objective of the estuarine education program is to teach the people who live within the Estuary basin. It emphasizes the importance of ensuring the quality of water that runs in the watershed, the health of the ecosystems and the biodiversity that inhabits them. It also seeks to raise awareness about the fundamental nature of our actions for the conservation of urban nature.

The Estuary Program aims to be a model of the best principles of environmental education and the interpretation of the island’s heritage. To that end, it carries out thematic, organized, relevant and entertaining educational and interpretive activities. At the same time, it supports the communities and environmental groups with which it collaborates.

The Estuary Program uses several pedagogical strategies aimed at a diversity of learning communities. The purpose is to effectively achieve a change in actions toward our natural and social environment. From Constructivism to Personal Environmental Interpretation, the estuarine education program adopts Dr. Sam Ham’s TORA methodology. All the talks, workshops and contact tours with nature are thematic, organized, relevant and enjoyable.


Educational talks

Biodiversity of the San Juan Bay Estuary

Level: 4-6, 7-12
Time: 20 to 30 minutes

The term biodiversity is discussed; examples of flora and fauna are presented, as well as characteristics of the Estuary basin, and recommendations are given to protect and conserve it.

Endemic birds of Puerto Rico in the Estuary basin

Level: 4-6, 7-12
Time: 20 to 30 minutes

The importance of birds for our ecosystems is discussed; especially the endemic birds of Puerto Rico that we can find in the Estuary’s ecosystems.

Most common birds in the San Juan Bay Estuary

Level: 4-6, 7-12
Time: 20 to 30 minutes

Emphasis is placed on the importance of conducting bird censuses for the conservation of the Estuary’s ecosystems. Some of the birds found in these natural systems are also presented, from urban forests to the coast and coastal wetlands.

Conserving the Estuary, we protect marine life and other animals

Level: K-5
Time: 20 to 30 minutes

An elementary level talk in which the importance of protecting forests and beaches for the benefit of animals that live in the sea is discussed.

Our friends the bats, protectors of the Estuary

Level: K-5
Time: 20 to 30 minutes

The myths related to bats are discussed, as well as the benefits they bring to estuarine ecosystems.

Certification of Estuary Scientific Citizens

Did you know that the San Juan Bay Estuary Program has a of Scientific Citizens Certification?

Citizen science is the participation of the general public and the application of scientific knowledge in the collection and analysis of data. It is characterized by its levels of collaboration before, during and after a scientific investigation.

The objective of the Estuary’s Scientific Citizens Certification Program is to create a citizen’s corps who assist in the PEBSJ’s scientific projects. They also help identify the basin’s environmental needs, while developing their environmental awareness and scientific knowledge.

The Estuary’s Scientific Citizens Certification Program consists of two thematic modules: Water Quality Monitoring and Participatory Bird Censuses.

To obtain the certification, participants must take one of the modules, which includes two workshops and 18 hours of field work. Through the Water Quality Monitoring module, citizens will learn about water quality monitoring strategies in the Estuary basin. They will also learn the basics of the process of taking and analyzing water quality physical-chemical data.

Through the Participatory Bird Censuses module, citizens will become familiar with the basic concepts of identification of most common birds in the Estuary basin. At the same time, they will learn about the methodology to carry out bird censuses in the Estuary’s different urban ecosystems.

The collaboration of scientific citizens is key to achieving the scope of the PEBSJ’s projects. The data obtained is reported to the relevant state and federal agencies and scientific citizenship projects that are carried out around the world. In addition, they are used by the PEBSJ to determine the effectiveness of actions implemented, as well as to develop projects aimed at the conservation and restoration of ecosystems.

The Certification Program is open to volunteers 18 and older. It does not require previous experience, only the desire to learn, gain new skills, discover and collaborate with the protection and management of the Estuary. The dates when the Certification will be offered will be announced on our Facebook page.

For more information, you may contact us at 787-725-8165 or [email protected][email protected].

Green contact

The Estuary’s educational activities count for green contact hours.

Educational tours

Estuary Center

The Estuary Center located at #265 San Francisco St., Old San Juan presents an opportunity to conduct urban educational tours. The purpose of these tours is to raise awareness of the importance of forests in the city, and the conservation of urban biodiversity. Likewise, it carries out scientific citizenship activities on the topics of water quality monitoring and participatory bird censuses. The best practices and standards of the interpretation of nature used by the National Association for Interpretation are observed.

(The tours also include the option of taking a boat trip through part of the San Juan Bay, which will be planned by the teacher or coordinator directly with the tour operator.)

[Paid directly to the captain of the “La Paseadora” boat]

Investigating in the San Juan Bay Estuary (water/bird activities)

Level: 5-12
Time: 2 to 3 hours

After an introductory talk about the Estuary, participants will carry out one or two scientific citizenship activities. They will also be able to contribute to the Estuary’s data collection. There is the option to take a boat tour through the San Juan Bay.

Bird watching workshop in Old San Juan

Level: 5-12
Time: 2 hours

The first part consists of a talk about the importance of birds. The second part is the practice and participation in a bird census, by using binoculars and a telescope.

Water quality monitoring workshop in the San Juan Bay

Level: 5-12
Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

The first part of this workshop consists of a talk about the importance of conserving ecosystems at the height of the river basin. The second part is the practice, when water quality monitoring of the San Juan Bay is carried out.

Getting to know the Estuary’s urban birds (Census on the Barandilla)

Level: K-5
Time 1.5 to 2 hours

After an illustrated talk about the most common urban birds, participants will be able to do bird censuses and use binoculars to appreciate these invertebrates up close.

Urban forest network

The Estuary Program presents the opportunity to take interpretive tours in some of the San Juan Bay Estuary basin’s urban forests. Depending on the hours of operation of each forest, the teacher or group leader may coordinate with the Estuary’s education staff. It is about designing appropriate activities for the topics that you wish to complement or reinforce.

• Bird watching tour in urban forests
• From the forest to the Estuary: A natural connection
• Night tours in the forest: Discovering nocturnal biodiversity

Teacher workshops/Professional training for educators

The estuarine education program coordinates and conducts several professional training workshops aimed at formal and non-formal educators.

Workshop of the “chiriría” and wetlands conservation

Time: 6 to 8 hours

The Estuary Program offers a workshop in collaboration with conservation group Birds Caribbean. This is aimed at educators of all levels interested in learning more about the wetland’s ecosystems, their biodiversity and conservation opportunities. A guide with information and activities is included for the teacher to carry out inside and outside the classroom.

Workshop on the Estuary’s Education and Research Program

Time: 3 hours

This workshop is aimed at homeschooling educators, mothers and fathers, environmental and community leaders, and adult scout leaders. They become familiar with the diversity of educational, research and volunteer activities in which youth could participate. There is also a demonstration of research activities on issues of water quality monitoring and participatory bird censuses.

Project Learning Tree workshop

Time: 3 hours (Forests of the World), 6 hours (PreK-12)

In collaboration with Project Learning Tree and the USFS Tropical Forestry Institute, the Estuary offers a workshop to PreK-8 educators, and another to higher-level educators entitled: “Global Connections Forests of the World.”

From the forest to the Estuary: A natural connection

Time: 3 to 6 hours

This activity is done in collaboration with some of the Estuary’s community environmental groups. It discusses the ecological relationships that occur in estuarine ecosystems. These go from the forests in the karst region to the coastal wetlands. The most characteristic biological diversity of these ecosystems is discussed, and several research activities are carried out in the forest or the wetland.

Population Connection Workshop

Time: 3 hours

This workshop is offered in collaboration with the Population Connection organization. It explores the issue of the population increase and its relationship with our planet’s natural resources.

Estuarine biodiversity workshop

Time: 3 hours

A workshop whose objective is to explain the diversity of the San Juan Bay Estuary’s ecosystems, fauna and flora.

Professional certification workshop of the interpreter guide with the NAI

Time: 32 contact hours (four days)

In collaboration with the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), the “Certified Interpretive Guide” certification is offered.

Workshops and environmental stories of the Estuary

Tale of The Fiddler Crab

Level: K-5
Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Story reading and creative art activity. The objective is for the participants to create awareness about the biological diversity that inhabits the Estuary.

Tale of Canito: the fisherman bat

Level: K-5
Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

Story reading and creative art activity. The objective is for the participants to create awareness about the biological diversity that inhabits the Estuary.

Program of activities for scouts

The San Juan Bay Estuary program supports the BSA Scouts program in all of its areas. Above all, it is committed to collaborating and promoting the highest ideals of citizenship through activities, volunteering and scientific citizen programs.

• Interpretive Tours in Old San Juan
• Interpretive Tours in Urban Forests
• Merit Badge Advance Program
• Workshops on microplastics on the Estuary’s beaches
• Christmas Bird Census Gamaliel Pagán Hernández

(Attach registration sheet in PDF)

Green contact

The Estuary’s educational activities count as green contact hours. (Attach PDF)

Community Estuarine Leadership Workshop

The San Juan Bay Estuary Education Program coordinates a series of annual workshops aimed at children and youth of the communities within the estuarine basin. This is done by prior agreement with a municipality, environmental or community organization or the academia. Then, objectives and a calendar of activities are established. The purpose is to develop leadership, knowledge and immersion experiences in urban nature. This is achieved through thematic, organized, relevant and fun activities.

During 2017-18, we coordinated with the municipality of San Juan and social workers from the communities of La Perla, Viejo San Juan and Puerta de Tierra. The purpose is to promote the principles of environmental sustainability in a group of children from these communities. Under the theme of the “Year of the Birds,” the activities focused on raising awareness of biological diversity —especially of birds — in the urban environment. Through story readings, crafting, talks, participatory maps, bird watching tours and quality monitoring of San Juan Bay water, children and youth managed to see, from another perspective, their community and the geographical space they share with the birds.