A Day in the Life of Fire Island

Experiencing a Day in the Life of Fire Island Pic

Woodhull Elementary School fourth- through sixth-grade students had the chance to learn more about their unique island and school surroundings as they contributed to the very first “Day in the Life of Fire Island” ecology project on Sept. 29.

Assisted by Ranger Sam Durbin of the National Park Service, Adelphi University Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Ruth Coffey, Fire Island School Superintendent of Schools Loretta Ferraro, BOCES Teacher Integration Specialist Deborah Gerken and Woodhull Intermediate Team teacher Gabrielle Donovan, the students learned how to collect and test samples of water and earth along the shores of Ocean Beach. The information will help specialists determine the health of the aquatic ecosystem and the biodiversity of Fire Island.

The students were not alone in their work. As they examined the physical and chemical aspects of the water—such as salinity, the amount of sediments, nitrates, phosphates, and oxygen levels—and also conducted biodiversity inventories of the flora and fauna in and around the shorelines, students from Bay Shore High School performed similar work near the Fire Island Lighthouse and students from Longwood Junior High School worked near the Smith Point Wilderness Center. Together, some 70 students and teachers studied the water source that spanned the length of Fire Island.

Since 2011, annual “A Day in the Life” events involving students have been jointly coordinated for various Long Island aquatic ecosystems by the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning & Policy Commission, the Suffolk County Water Authority, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the New York State Department of Energy Conservation.