Students learn about ocean life on Rockaway peninsula

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On these special evenings, I was not mentally in a basement, but submerged miles below the ocean surface. I was Cousteau’s co?captain out in the deep waters, in search of great white sharks, a pirate ship wreck or a mysterious, unclassified marine animal.

It seems this fascination with unexplored parts of our world is something many children share.

Recently, an inter?agency partnership took place that is helping to fulfill this curiosity for Far Rockaway public school students.

The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, held a series of educational workshops for students right on the sand of the Rockaway Beach and boardwalk.

A team of Army Corps biologists and engineers educated the students about how their agency is restoring Rockaway Beach, which has been eroding over the years due to severe storms.

In addition, the corps showed students how they are protecting marine life and creating a habitat for piping plovers, threatened shorebirds that nest on the beach during the summertime.

The students were taught through the use of visual displays, going on a piping plover egg hunt to learn how the bird makes a home on the beach and holding and feeling live marine life.

The students delicately held moon snails, hermit and mole crabs, sea horses, mud snails, sea stars and yellow sea sponges.

An Army Corps official said the students were fascinated by the sea life and asked a lot of questions. To know that this outreach effort may inspire the students to become future scientists or merely improve their environmental awareness is rewarding.

Or perhaps become another Cousteau?

JoAnne Castagna

Our Water Ways, Sheepshead Bay

Updated 7:09 pm, September 14, 2011
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