RWA Students CompleteAfterschool Projects
Students in the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance Aqua 101 & Marine Conservation Corps afterschool program at Kappa VI recently presented their final projects to show what they learned about the marine habitat of the Rockaways. Each student worked individually or with a group to create environmental dioramas which showcased a marine habitat they had studied during the semester. Each student had to identify the wildlife and grasses specific to the environment to evaluate what they learned during the semester. The final project led by RWA educator/biologist Nim Lee gave the students the opportunity to present their work and inform their classmates of the natural environment just outside their school.
The students have spent the semester along Jamaica Bay doing marine debris removal, monitoring of the RWA oyster garden and learning to evaluate water quality. Students have also been working with various agencies and organizations such as the Audubon Society to monitor the migration of shoreline birds along Jamaica Bay. In most cases this was the first time many of these students had any exposure to the shoreline. Through this program students have had the opportunity to meet some of the leading experts in marine science and biology to learn about future careers in related science fields.
This was also the first year that RWA had high school interns involved in mentoring students in the class. Many of these students have been involved in RWA programming for the past five years and the program gives them a chance to assist in working with other youth.
Kappa VI Principal Gary Dumornay said he is very happy the school is able to have RWA’s afterschool programs at Kappa VI for the fourth consecutive year. He has already seen significant improvements in his students’ academic achievement and involvement in the classroom through regular discussions they have with the faculty and students about Jamaica Bay. He was also glad to see his students being involved in supporting the Rockaway community through environmental stewardship.
The afterschool program is funded through the Environmental Protection Agency-Environmental Justice Division and NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Program in an effort to involve local youth in stewardship efforts and help to inform the community and their peers of the natural resources of the Rockaway Peninsula.