On April 20, 2016, 36 students from Susan Seddo’s Hicksville High School AP Environmental Science classes came to the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center. This was the second year of doing the School to Shore program with this school. Environmental Educator Julie Nelsen welcomed the group and gave the students an introduction to the Sanctuary. A presentation on Audubon New York’s Piping Plover conservation program was given by Amanda Pachomski, Long Island Bird Conservation Program Manager. Amanda taught the students how to identify shorebirds, predator tracks, and invertebrate prey in preparation for their field lab.
On the shores of Stehli Beach in Bayville, NY - one of Audubon New York's Plover stewardship sites - the students were able to collect data on factors affecting Plover productivity. After being given a set of lab equipment and an overview of each station of the lab, including methods and data to be collected, Environmental Educators Julie, Sharon, and Amanda helped the students work through each of the three stations. First, they measured prey availability along a 100 ft. transect from wet sand to dry sand. Students put five “sticky-sticks,” paint stirrers with tanglefoot, evenly spaced along each transect. To prevent birds or other animals from getting stuck to the sticks, students surrounded each stick with a chicken wire exclosure. The students then went on to complete the other stations. Later, they recorded insects that were captured on each stick. To document presence of predators at the site, students surveyed tracks within 50 ft. by 100 ft. quadrats. Students spread out evenly along the short edge of the quadrat and walked the length, recording the type and number of any non-human tracks that they found. Lastly, students completed a traveling bird survey to look for shorebirds and avian predators.
At the end, students were asked to report their findings in a debriefing discussion. The data sheets were collected from the students to compare with last year's data. See photos from the day below!