2018 is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and therefore Audubon and partners have declared it the Year of the Bird. This year-long celebration of birds includes a monthly "featured action" and the action for the month of July is Take a Child Into Nature. This summer there are many opportunities at our Audubon New York Centers for families and kids to become immersed in the natural world. In the fall, school field trips will once again be available to students K through 6.
This past spring, 4th grade students from the Baldwin UFSD (14 classes from 5 schools) and the Westbury UFSD (6 classes from Drexel Avenue School), joined staff and volunteers from the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center at Jones Beach State Park for shorebird and marine ecology-focused programming. Funding was made possible by the Connect Kids to State Parks Transportation Grant. In all, over 400 students hit the beach to view some spectacular shorebirds, including American Oystercatchers, through binoculars, scopes and their own natural observations.
Students also had the opportunity to learn about and touch local marine life, such as horseshoe crabs, various other crabs, mussels, oysters, clams and snails to help the children create real world connections between coastal ecology and the protection and sustainability of our priority shorebirds. They learned about coastal landscapes, the difference between bay and ocean environments and the little things they can do to make a big difference in preserving our natural resources, such a picking up their trash and keeping their dogs on leashes.
Students got both their feet and their minds submerged in the water by taking part in a seine net activity where they gathered samples of marine organisms that inhabit the bay side of Jones Beach. They learned about the delicate balance needed to keep all organisms thriving during complex and ever changing conditions. Their smiles radiated and with each pull of the net a new discovery was found.
We would like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers that donated their time to work with the students. Because of their dedication, programs like these will be lasting memories for the children they inspired.