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Long Island Students Helping To Preserve Local Wetlands

Elsie Boskamp

Fifth grade students from Cutchogue East Elementary School participated working with Cornell Cooperative Extension at Cedar Beach in Southold. (Photo: Nicole B. Brewer)

More than 1,000 students and teachers from 34 schools in 27 of Long Island's school districts will participate in a series of events and engaging in hand-on science exploration of the Peconic Estuary, the Nissequogue River and the Carmans River. The first event, a day in the life of the Carmans River was held on September, 24, 2014, a day in the life of the Peconic will be held on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, and a day in the life of the Nissequogue River will be held on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

"As the two major rivers located within that Central Pine Barrens, the Carmans River and Peconic River and Estuary play an integral role in the overall ecological health and integrity of this region," Peter A. Scully, Chairman of the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission and DEC Regional Director, said.

"This event is significant in highlighting that critical relationship and will help ensure that the next generation of adult citizens and community leaders develop an appreciation and advocacy for the preservation of our river systems."

On these waterfront adventures students are intended to enjoy and learn about Long Island's river and estuary ecosystems while collecting data regarding surface waters and water quality. As challenges regarding Long Island's water quality continue to rise, this program is innovative in bringing students to water-based environments and allowing them to embrace a unique learning experience, allowing them to see the larger picture.

Specifically, students will use field techniques to make observations, catch fish, collect water and invertebrate samples, develop a biodiversity inventory of the riparian zone and analyze water chemistry. Environmental educators will work with students at each site and their findings will be promptly posted online.

For more information, visit www.portaltodiscovery.org.

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