Last week, middle schoolers from Rockaway Waterfront Alliance's Environmentor Program met with Don Riepe, Director of American Littoral Society to lead a clean up and tour of Jamaica Bay. ALS member, Doris Harris also joined the group to take a closer look at the Edgemere shoreline of Jamaica Bay. With the city in the background the students realized just how close they are to the city and the plentiful natural resources that exist outside their schools. During the walk Don identified a number of red tailed hawks, Northern harrier hawks, ring-necked pheasants and eastern meadow larks. The students are working on a public space planning project to evaluate the natural resources available to them and determine the uses with which this area could serve the public. "There are a number of programs that could utilize the area for both education and research. With the number of hawks and birds in the area it could be a great area to create a raptor program for the kids to be a part of," said Jeanne DuPont, Director of Rockaway Waterfront Alliance. But while the area is teeming with wildlife the students also noticed the many neglected areas strewn with construction debris and unfinished construction. "Why are these areas being left like this?" one student asked. This will be part of the assessment the students will be reviewing in their project to bring this to the attention of our elected officials and other agencies so more can be done to protect the Jamaica Bay shoreline and to build an appreciation of the natural resources that exist here.