Life of Fire Island

Life of Fire Island – Scientifically Speaking photo

Woodhull Elementary School sixth-graders braved windy and wet conditions for the chance to learn more about their unique island and school surroundings as they contributed to the second annual Day in the Life of Fire Island ecology project on Friday, Sept. 28.

Assisted by Ranger Kelsey Sucena of the National Park Service, Adelphi University Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Ruth Coffey, BOCES Teacher Integration Specialist Deborah Gerken and Woodhull sixth-grade teacher Gabrielle Donovan, the students practiced collecting and testing samples of water and earth along the shores of Ocean Beach. As Woodhull students examined the physical and chemical aspects of the water and conducted biodiversity inventories of the flora and fauna in and around the shorelines, students from Bay Shore High School, Longwood Junior High School and other schools worked simultaneously in different areas of the island as in the previous year. Together, some 70 students and teachers studied the water source that spanned the length of Fire Island.

Last year was the inaugural year of the Day in the Life of Fire Island project, in which Fire Island students studied the same environments in the same ways as this year, effectively creating a benchmark against which to compare this year’s data. Since 2011, annual Day in the Life events involving students have been jointly coordinated for various Long Island aquatic ecosystems by Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning & Policy Commission, the New York State Department of Energy Conservation and the Suffolk County Water Authority. The information collected from these projects helps specialists determine the health of the aquatic ecosystem and the biodiversity of Fire Island.