On Saturday, November 10, we held our 4th Annual Youth Ocean Conservation Summit (YOCS) and it’s possible that this was our best one yet! We had almost 50 individuals in attendance. The day was full of activities that offered enthusiastic young minds with as much knowledge and drive needed to pursue their own action projects.
Students were surprised that fashionable feather hats in the early 1900s led to bird declines in such a large capacity that the need to preserve habitat and help populations rebound led to places like Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge forming, as Bill Kirell mentioned to open the day.
Caitlin Manley, an intern with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, gave a highly engaging talk about working with the Student Conservation Association (SCA). She highlighted the incredible things you can do with the SCA and raised some students curiosity about working in National Parks around the U.S.
One student decided they want to do exactly what Terra Willi, a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, did for a small tributary to the bay on her school property. The property is in bad shape due to poor drainage conditions.
Maureen Dunn, with Seatuck Environmental Association, motivated young ocean physicists to learn more about how oysters can help combat ocean acidification, and to collect oyster shells from restaurants to support their Halfshells for Habitat program.
Mouths dropped as the students learned how many birds die from flying into windows each year and thankfully a way to prevent that from happening, in an inspiring talk by John Turner also with Seatuck Environmental Association. His talk reiterated how important it is to become an expert in your field if you really want to make a difference.
Jake Chammas and Ethan Nichols, two students involved with CSLI, showed the other students that they can get up in front of a crowd and deliver an equally impactful message as our working professionals.
The schools represented that day were: William Floyd; Connetquot; Paca; West Islip; Shoreham Wading River; St Anthony's; Sachem; Lynbrook; Mount Sinai; Farmingdale; Brentwood; Southhampton; Westhampton Beach; Jericho; and Rocky Point (Sayville & Riverhead Coordinators not able to attend).
We want to give a special thank you to The Dooner - Rockwell Family Charitable Trust for sponsoring this year’s event and giving us the ability to fund additional student projects.
YOCS; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; The Rockwell Family Charitable Trust; Ján Porinchak; Student Conservation Association; Natureworks Illustrations; Seatuck Environmental Association; Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center; SOFO Shark Research and Education Program; The Carmens River Environmental Education Center (CREEC); and Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge