Woodhull Elementary School sixth-graders braved windy and wet conditions for the chance to learn more about their unique island and school surroundings as they contributed to the second annual “Day in the Life of Fire Island” ecology project on Sept. 28.
Assisted by Ranger Kelsey Sucena of the National Park Service, Adelphi University Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Ruth Coffey, BOCES Technology Integration Specialist Deborah Gerken and Woodhull sixth-grade teacher Gabrielle Donovan, the students practiced collecting and testing samples of water and earth along the shores of Ocean Beach. As in the previous year, the students’ work took place simultaneously with other student groups in different areas of the island. As Woodhull students examined the physical and chemical aspects of the water and conducted biodiversity inventories of the flora and fauna in and around the shorelines, students from Bay Shore High School and Longwood Junior High School worked in other areas of the island. Together, some 70 students and teachers studied the water source that spanned the length of Fire Island.
Last year was the inaugural year of the “Day in the Life of Fire Island” project, in which Fire Island students studied the same environments in the same ways as this year, effectively creating a benchmark against which to compare this year’s data. Since 2011, annual “Day in the Life” events involving students have been jointly coordinated for various Long Island aquatic ecosystems by the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning & Policy Commission, the Suffolk County Water Authority, Brookhaven National Laboratory and the New York State Department of Energy Conservation. The information collected from these projects helps specialists determine the health of the aquatic ecosystem and the biodiversity of Fire Island.
Photos courtesy of the Fire Island School District