RWA Kids Busy Making Ocean Safety Film
Last Thursday was a week off from school but many of the students in the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance after school program were busy interviewing guest speakers on the beach for video shorts with the Reel Work Teen film crew. The shorts were part of a water safety curriculum RWA has been working on with Rockaway resident and native, Jessica Klein. Klein is a graduate multimedia and animation student at Parsons School of Design, who is doing her thesis on water safety.
As a result of the drownings off our shores last year Klein was intent on using her skills as an animator to benefit her community. The final product is the Oceanlabnyc.org website; a resource for teachers, kids and families to access information about how to have a safe experience on the beach. The website will feature water safety videos, lesson plans and activities for teachers, as well as podcasts, video games for kids, and video shorts by various local organizations. Those participants include Allison Blanchette from Surfrider Foundation, Steve Strathis from Boarders Surf Shop, Don Riepe and Mickey Cohen from American Littoral Society, Pete Grayson from Stoked Mentoring, Janet Fash and Ryan McNamara from the US lifeguard Association.
This year RWA made swim and water safety a top priority by focusing on this issue both in the pool (Far Rockaway High School) and on our beaches. There could be no better time to make this information more accessible to the public.
“The website seemed like an obvious tool for people of all ages and since the curriculum is focused on elementary school-aged children, the lesson plans and activities for teachers target a wide range of students that face the greatest danger off our shores. It also arms kids with valuable lifesaving information that they can inform their families and friends about both on our beaches and through the Internet,“ said Klein. Klein has met with the Parks Department and other organizations to get support for the project. The response so far has been extremely positive.
The Ocean Lab curriculum will be kicked off at this year’s Earth Day Rockaway event on Saturday, May 1 and through a series of school workshops being conducted in the Rockaway public schools in late May and June.
The workshops are sponsored by Next Era Energy Resources and are free to any local Rockaway schools. Anyone interested in having the Ocean lab workshops at his or her school should contact Rockaway Waterfront Alliance at info @rwalliance.org to register for workshops during the week of May 25.