Children measured tides and salinity and counted marine creatures and Monarch butterflies during the first-even Day in the Life of Fire Island. Photo: Tim Motz
News Release Date: October 2, 2017
Contact: Elizabeth Rogers, 631-687-4766
Contact: Kathy Krause, 631-687-4772
Patchogue, NY – On Friday, September 29, nearly 100 students from the Woodhull School, Longwood Middle School, and Bay Shore High School participated in the first-ever “Day in the Life of Fire Island.” The citizen science program, modeled after the Day in the Life of the Hudson River, was led by the National Park Service and coordinating partners including Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Portal to Discovery and the Central Pine Barrens Commission.“Students got to experience Fire Island’s outdoor classroom and explore the barrier island and marine ecosystems through hands-on science investigations,” said Fire Island National Seashore Chief of Interpretation Kathy Krause. “An important goal of the Day of the Life program is for students to collect environmental data at the same time, on the same day, at different locations along the length of a river — or in Fire Island’s case, along the length of the barrier island.”Student citizen scientists teamed up with park rangers and partners at the Fire Island Lighthouse, Ocean Beach, and Wilderness Visitor Center to record environmental conditions like air temperature and wind speed, and water temperature and salinity. Students used seine nets to sample the diversity of marine life in the Great South Bay; took measurements of tides and currents; and, counted monarch butterflies migrating overhead.The information collected during the day-long event provides a snapshot of the ecosystem that can be used in future studies. When information is collected at the same location year after year, these snapshots can show trends and changes over time. The Day in the Life program aims to instill an appreciation for the natural world and encourage students to be lifelong stewards of their environment.A Day in the Life events began on Long Island in 2011 with six schools studying the Carmans River. Since then, more than 50 schools have participated and Day in the Life events have included the Peconic River and Estuary, Nissequogue River, Carlls River, Gardiners Pond, Green’s Creek, Massapequa Preserve, Mills River, Connetquot River, and, for the first time this year, Fire Island. Fire Island National Seashore offers a variety of resources and activities to enhance educational programs with place-based learning. Educators and students can explore coastal dynamics, nature on the barrier island, history, and more. Find more information on planning field trips, classroom visits, curriculum-based lesson plans, and educator workshops at Fire Island.