Ria Rodriguez, left, and Mia Triosi install a device designed to save pelicans. A PVC pipe extends into the water to discourage “begging” birds from becoming dependent on humans who inadvertently feed the wild animals. CONTRIBUTED

Mia Triosi, 18, and Ria Rodriguez, 17, knocked a recent class project right out of the water. Or into the water. One of those.

Craig Titus of the College of the Florida Keys gave his English students a problem and solution assignment. Ria, who has volunteered and worked at the Marathon Wild Bird Center, started brainstorming about birds.

“It had to be an idea we cared about,” said Ria.

“When she mentioned it in class, I told her I was really passionate about that, too,” said Mia.

They designed a “Saving the Pelicans” device and installed it at the Bonefish Bay Motel & RV Sites. It’s a tube that allows fishermen to dispose of fish carcasses below the water line.

“Birds are really attracted to the splash and flash of fish being disposed,” said Mia.

“And that’s bad. The birds can become habituated over time, and starve without humans. We need to stop this behavior,” said Ria. “And this is a good, safe solution.”

Both girls were home-schooled before enrolling at College of the Florida Keys. Both have an interest in the environment and art. Both work together at The Art Studio and at Marathon Yacht Club teaching youths how to sail. Mia said she’s likely to pursue a degree and career in biology or marine biology. Ria said she cares about those things too, but has veered off into piercing and tattooing. “It’s art,” she said, simply.

What’s next for these two? The Weekly strongly suggests a podcast called the Mia and Ria Show! Stay tuned. 

Mia Triosi, left, and Ria Rodriguez share a passion for birds, the environment and art.


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