2008-05-30 / School News

Public School/Middle School Students Soak Up Army Corps Workshop

Leite explains to students how the Corps is taking sand from the East Rockaway Inlet and placing it on Rockaway Beach to protect the shore from flooding and coastal erosion, and also to create recreation area. Leite explains to students how the Corps is taking sand from the East Rockaway Inlet and placing it on Rockaway Beach to protect the shore from flooding and coastal erosion, and also to create recreation area. A team of Corps biologists and engineers held several workshops for PS/MS 43 students along the boardwalk behind their school. The workshops allowed students who live and attend school in the Rockaways to become aware of the marine life on the peninsula.

During the Dredging Workshop, Douglas Leite, Project Manager, N.Y. District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, informed students about the dredging work the Corps is performing off their shores and how it benefits their community. Rockaway Beach has eroded due to a number of reasons including severe storms over the years. The Corps dredges the East Rockaway Inlet and places sand back onto the beach to help replenish the shoreline.

Lisa Baron, project manager, Harbors Programs Branch, N.Y. District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told students that during the dredging operations the Corps takes many precautions to protect marine life in their natural habitat including the use of deflectors to prevent sea turtles from getting caught in dredges. During a Sea Life Workshop, Baron showed students live species of Rockaway marine life. Students were able to touch and hold slime-covered moon snails, hermit and mole crabs, sea- horses, mud snails, sea anemones, sea stars and a yellow sea sponge. Students witnessed the natural behavior of the creatures as a sea anemone shot its stinging cell at a baby sea star, in an attempt to eat it.

Students learn about the marine life living in their Rockaway Beach waters from Lisa Baron. Students learn about the marine life living in their Rockaway Beach waters from Lisa Baron. Another workshop held by the Corps was the Piping Plover Workshop. Robert Smith, Project Biologist, N.Y. District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talked to students along the beach about threatened and endangered species. He explained how the Corps is taking measures to protect Plovers and created a mock Piping Plover egg hunt for students. This showed them how Piping Plover eggs and nests look. During Smith's workshop, a horseshoe crab slowly crept from the shore towards the students. He used this opportunity to tell the students that horseshoe crabs are ancient creatures predating the dinosaurs - dating back over 500 million years. The students spread the word about the Corps' workshops and the principal asked the Corps to visit a class of second grade students.

Robert Smith takes students out on a Piping Plover egg hunt. Robert Smith takes students out on a Piping Plover egg hunt. Corps engineers and biologists are invited to visit a class of enthusiastic second grade students. Corps engineers and biologists are invited to visit a class of enthusiastic second grade students.

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