Saturday, September 10, 2016

For a few months we've been working to develop a program called Heritage Monitoring Scouts (HMS Florida) to engage the public in helping us: 
  1. Verify site information
  2. Monitor sites at risk
  3. Make a difference 
This data can help guide how archaeological sites to be impacted by climate change, most notably by sea level rise, will be managed. 

How to get involved? Fill out the HMS Florida volunteer application form  or visit the HMS Florida website.  You must check the box saying you have read and will comply with the Ethics Statement and Agreement at the bottom to participate. If you'd rather send your information by email, contact

Multiple regions are conducting pilots and could use your help. In other areas projects are just in the beginning stages, please be patient, but we'll be sure to let you know when opportunities become available near you.

Need more information? Here's who, what, when, where, why, and how. And don't forget to check the FPAN website for other education and outreach opportunities year-round. 


Why - Florida Sites at Risk

Image courtesy of  Florida Master Site File.
As of 2013 the state identified 16,015 historical resources to be impacted by a 1 meter rise in sea level, numbers reaching 34,786 given a 2 meter rise scenario. Of these, 2,908 are archaeological sites (or 3,985 in the 2 meter scenario). Additionally, 630 historic cemeteries are estimated to be at risk from storm surge. More information is needed to identify and manage the threat of erosion on archaeological sites.

Who - Monitoring Scouts

The public is encouraged to apply for the HMS Florida program to help monitor archaeological sites across the state. Ideal scout candidates are environmentally friendly volunteers interested in Florida's past ready to help FPAN staff and land managers. As they rise to the level of Master Scouts, their responsibilities will grow as they work independently monitoring sites and areas selected by mentors. Some Scouts may visit the same site multiple times, others may want to visit different sites each time. 

Where – Shoreline

Previously recorded sites potentially threatened by erosion due to rising sea levels, storm surge, development, and other climate change related changes to the landscape. Ideal sites can be accessed by hiking, biking, paddling, diving or other recreational activities. 

How- HMS Mission sheets and reporting form

Scouts will be given a HMS Mission sheet generated by FPAN staff and fill out a Scout monitoring form to verify location, assess condition, and estimate threat. While a beta version of field forms are currently in use, an integrated website is in development that will integrate site information and reporting for ease of Scout use. Quarterly updates on sites visited will be shared with the Florida Division of Historical Resources as state land monitoring is needed and condition report required. An annual report of HMS Florida outcomes and results will also be submitted. 

When—May 2016 to August 2020

Phase I: May-August 2016 FPAN staff conducted summer pilot programs and hosted 1st Tidally United summit in St. Augustine.
Phase II: August 2016-January 2017 Pilot programs by Mentors continue to work with Monitoring Scouts to develop Master Scouts in approved locations. 
Phase III: Summer 2017 Master Scouts work with new Monitoring Scouts to provide in the field training and regularly submit updates of site conditions.

What—Training and Support

Initial training received by attending HMS Florida events offered across the state by Mentors, during a Tidally United: State of the Shoreline summit, or in the field with Mentor led site visits. The first Tidally United summit took place in St. Augustine August 5-6, 2016. The 2nd annual meeting is proposed to take place in June 2017 in South Florida, contact for more information. Supporting resources for Scouts will be posted online to the HMS Florida and Tidally United pages.

Text and Images: Sarah Miller and Emily Jane Murray, FPAN staff unless otherwise noted

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