Today’s news:

Audubon Society lands $50K for youth to clean up Jam Bay

A city group has received a major grant to clean up Jamaica Bay and it will be using it to recruit youth from the borough to help do the job.

The New York City Audubon Society received $50,000 last Thursday from the TogetherGreen Innovation Grants, which is a partnership between the National Audubon Society and Toyota to provide funding for scientific research. The city group will be using the money for a summer program with teens to improve the conditions at Jamaica Bay and monitor wildlife, according to Glenn Phillips, executive director of the city Audubon Society.

“This is a neat opportunity for us to work in Jamaica Bay,” he said.

Over the last three years, the Audubon Society has been doing volunteer work at the bay with different groups and this year it will be working with ´╗┐members of faith-based organizations in Queens and Brooklyn. Phillips said he is looking to hire 300 volunteers for the massive project and he and his team are currently talking with many churches.

The initiative will begin in May and start with the removal of 6,000 pounds of trash from 9 miles of shoreline at the bay. The ecosystem has lost thousands of acres of its saltwater marshland due to pollution over the decades, and it has affected the fauna and flora that thrive there.

“There are so many problems there, but this is the easiest to solve,” Phillips said of the trash removal.

The cleanup is not the only work the volunteers will be involved in.

The Audubon Society will also monitor the habits of horseshoe crabs and birds that migrate to the area. Phillips pointed out that the marine life and birds work symbiotically.

“We will work with horseshoe crabs and clean beaches so they have a good place to lay their eggs. We will then watch the shore birds that feed on those eggs,” he said.

For more information on the effort, call 212-691-7483.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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