Students Participate In Summer Bridge Program
This summer students from Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability took part in a summer bridge program to introduce them to the natural environment of the Rockaway peninsula. As part of this program, Rockaway Waterfront Alliance conducted a number of workshops with the students that they normally would not have the time to do during the regular school year. The workshops introduced the students to many of the subjects on which they will be focused during the academic year.
Students began the week by learning about water safety, the dangers of rip currents and safety procedures they should follow on beaches.
Later in the week the students had a chance to practice what they learned as they went on a kayaking expedition with the National Park Rangers led by John Daskalakis and crew to tour Jamaica Bay. Most of the students had never kayaked or accessed the water before. The rangers did a fantastic job of teaching the students the basics of paddling and making them comfortable exploring the shore near Riis Landing.
Students took part in a planning charette to design a sustainable community on the Rockaway peninsula. Working in teams they researched and developed ideas and then presented their work to their classmates. Their concepts ranged from underwater amusement parks to planted medians and floating docks. Some of their concepts the school may try to initiate for their own programs.
Students also took part in a scuba class led by Zach Rome of the Schooba Academy. Rome taught the kids the principles of scuba diving through a science curriculum he has developed for high school students where they can learn high school science standards while getting certification in diving. This is a program that could be expanded during the academic year since Beach Channel High School has an indoor scuba pool.
The program concluded with a horticulture and cooking class led by Alex Apparu and Elizabeth Gilchrist of Veggie Island. Gilchrist brought the students behind the scenes to show them how Veggie Island concession gets fresh local produce for their business. Then the students “shopped” for their fruits and vegetables to prepare their own meals. Apparu taught the kids to prepare “no recipe” meals so they could prepare their own meals back at the Beach 91 Street Community Garden. Each group of students made their own menu and actual meals to enjoy with each other. All in all the students had a great introduction to the exciting year they are going to have at Rock Park High School this year, while learning more about the local resources available to them on the Rockaway peninsula.