2009-12-18 / School News

RWA Students Seining For Science In Jamaica Bay

Collecting the various finds in the seining net. Collecting the various finds in the seining net. School was out for the day but the students from the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance afterschool program were waiting on the front steps of Far Rockaway High School to begin the day's lesson. The students were gathered for a seining workshop led by American Littoral Society biologist Mickey Cohen, and Marlen Waaijer of Norton Basin Stewardship Group.

The students made their way down to Bayswater Park and helped one another into waders. Despite the November weather, everyone was eager to enter the water. Waaijer and Cohen showed each of the students how to use the seining net to gather fish, snails, and shrimp from the bay.

Each time the net was brought in with new kinds of species, Cohen help ed the students to identify what they had caught, showing that the bay has a lively and abundant habitat beneath the water's surface. The students responded excitedly and were quickly able to begin identifying the findings on their own. One student was surprised that so many different kinds of life were able to survive in the polluted waters of Jamaica Bay saying that "this activity only makes me want to work harder to clean up the bay around our school!" In addition, the students also took part in measuring the oysters the students have been gardening all year only to find that none of the 600 oysters in the net have died and that in just four months they have grown from 21 mm to nearly 70 mm.

Students taking the oysters out of the net to measure. Students taking the oysters out of the net to measure. The oyster gardening is part of an effort by RWA to show how the oysters can clean the bay while feeding on the algae and other microorganisms.

It was a beautiful day and a special treat to have Cohen and Waaijer there to join RWA educators Iemanja Brown and Zakhia for class.

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