Bryan Henry of Southold Elementary proudly holding his sign, "Tern Into A Bird Lover." (Courtesy Photo)
This spring, the Group for the East End presented the "Be A Good Egg" pledge to over 150 students from Cutchogue East Elementary, Peconic Community School, Southold Elementary, and Girl Scout Troop 1971. Group Stewardship Coordinator, Christine Tylee, has expanded this project to the North Fork by partnering with Audubon New York.
"Be A Good Egg" educates youth about the birds that reside on Long Island, including the American Oystercatchers, Least Terns, and Piping Plovers. This past spring, students learned about shorebird biology, the various threats they face, and how they can help. These students then participated in an activity where they designed posters to be displayed at local beaches where these birds reside. Christine Tylee and Group Vice President, Aaron Virgin, chose 14 of the student designs and had them professionally printed. They are on display at Causeway Beach Park District in Cutchogue and Breakwater Beach Park District in Mattituck.
"The 'Be a Good Egg' project was a beautiful coming together of the arts and a lesson in conservation," explained Tylee. "It was a successful and rewarding educational experience for all involved - including teachers - because it connected children with their natural surroundings." Students were enthralled with the local birds. "This was apparent when students were shown footage of adult piping plovers and their hatchlings," she added. "The students' faces lit up! This is what every environmental educator hopes for in the next generation of wildlife ambassadors."
The "Be A Good Egg" pledge reads, I pledge to: 1. Keep away from marked or fenced areas where birds are nesting 2. Keep the beach clean by using proper receptacles, carrying out trash or joining a beach cleanup 3. Keep my dog off the bird nesting beaches.
"The 'Be a Good Egg' presentations in the classroom were really well received by the students. Most of our local kids have a lot of experience on the beaches observing wildlife," noted Russ Karsten, a Science teacher at Southold Elementary. "'Be a Good Egg' helped them identify the wildlife, and discuss the importance of preserving the local ecosystem. The sign contest brought the students attention to a community problem, and allowed them to work with a local organization on managing a solution. All the while they were working on their communication and collaboration skills!"
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