On Monday, June 13, 2017 the Deer Park High School Life Skills class took a field trip to the Marine Environmental Stewardship Center (MESC) for a fun and enlightening day of marine education. The class, led by Coastal Steward’s Director of Marine Education David Chase, Stephanie Rekemeyer, and Nicole Starkweather, began the day walking up the harbor side of Cedar Beach and identifying the marine organisms they found on the way, such as horseshoe crabs, clams, and different species of algae.
The class ventured to the Shellfish Hatchery, where the students were welcomed to hold the baby oysters and clams that CSLI grows in the summer months with the Town of Brookhaven. David showcased different sizes and ages of shellfish, explaining how to classify their age, how large they grow during adulthood, and more.
Later on, participating members of the class put on rubber waders to cast the seine net—an exciting yet challenging activity for students and teachers alike. Stephanie and Nicole demonstrated the proper technique, leading the students and teachers to catch blue and hermit crabs, shrimp, sea slugs, a baby flounder, and a whole school of fish! Students got to touch and hold the marine organisms while they were identified, before releasing them safely back into the bay.
In the afternoon, the class ate lunch in the shaded picnic area, explored the MESC and the touch-screen games and activities, and went around back to experience the outdoor touch tanks. Students and teachers held live spider and horseshoe crabs who inhabit the tank alongside sea robins, oysters, an American eel, and other species of crabs and fish. The day ended with a nature walk along the nearby boardwalk, where students learned about bats and bat houses, listened to bird calls, and classified birds. Deer Park’s students and teachers loved their informative day at the beach, and CSLI’s marine educators look forward to the next opportunity to share their knowledge and resources with Long Island students.