William Floyd High School AP environmental students and fourth-grade-students from Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School, recently took a field trip to some of the beautiful waterways within the community and spent “A Day in the Life of the Carmans River.” The program is designed to help students develop an appreciation for and knowledge of Long Island’s river and estuary ecosystems, as well as to collect useful scientific data on the status of local waters.
At the Smith Point Marina, students in Dawna Cintron’s AP Environmental class had the unique opportunity to board the South Shore Estuary Preserve’s bay constable boat and collect bottom and surface water samples from two locations of the Great South Bay. At locations along the shore, students used seining nets and lab equipment to investigate aquatic life, biodiversity, water chemistry and quality, tides and weather patterns.
At a “Day in the Life,” students are able to access tools and environments that are not available at school, noted Ms. Cintron. “The bay, an aquatic ecosystem, is a rich learning laboratory; taking students into an ‘outdoor classroom’ such as the Carmans River or Great South Bay makes it possible for them to engage within their local ecosystem and participate in citizen science. Each observational experience solidifies learning and supports important academic concepts.”
Student reflections were overwhelmingly positive. One high school student wrote, “The material is often easier to remember when you actually experience hands-on learning. This way of absorbing information also helps those who need to learn visually. It makes a connection that the textbook cannot produce.”
At the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, fourth graders in Michael Murphy, Debbie Cooke, Amanda Schiralli, Meghan Nocella and Danielle Stern’s classes had the opportunity for hands-on science along the west dock of the Carmans River. Mr. Murphy explained how the students learned about the type of water in the river (brackish), had the opportunity to seine the river and study macro-organisms under magnifying glasses, take and test water samples to measure pH, turbidity and nitrate concentration, and more. Classes also visited different locations at the Refuge including the visitor center.
“A Day in the Life” is sponsored by the Central Pine Barrens Commission and has multiple partners including Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell Cooperative Extension, South Shore Estuary Preserve, the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge and more.