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Long Island Students Pitch In On Public Lands Day

by Diane B.

The students of Woodmere Middle School Team 8A continued their Long Island Students Pitch In On Public Lands Daycommitment to “Campaign Earth” -- a living unit in interdisciplinary learning and environmental service -- with a second trip to the Town of Hempstead's Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside to complete a service-learning project. Under the direction of Conservation Biologist and certified GLOBE Program specialist Mike Farina and teachers Diane Bentivegna and Jeremy Stein, this event was planned in honor of the 16th Annual National Public Lands Day, our nation’s largest hands-on service effort to improve and enhance public lands in America.

This year, the theme for National Public Lands Day focused on the connection between land and water resources since it also coincides with National Estuaries Day. Accordingly, these students rolled up their sleeves and set aside a day to lend a helping hand to Long Island’s tidal wetlands which provide protection for shellfish, small fish, migratory birds and many other animals. Acting as young conservationists, they collected and logged vital weather-related data for the Globe Program's international Climate Research Campaign. They also conducted soil testing and planted several blueberry bushes and other varieties of native vegetation to give a boost to wildlife habitat, prevent soil erosion and improve air and water quality. In addition, students made natural bird feeders to support the winter migratory songbirds who frequent the south shore of Long Island every year. These conservationists also donated spring bulbs for the Marine Nature Study Area's Beautification Project as well as bags of birdseed for the winter bird migration.

To recognize their commitment to the environment, these students were awarded an official "Certificate of Leadership in Service and Learning" from the Town of Hempstead's Conservation Biologist Mike Farina and Town Supervisor Kate Murray. With a compelling call for all Americans to participate in meaningful public service, this service-learning learning project was a premier opportunity for Woodmere Middle School students to take a leadership role in helping to preserve, protect, and enhance their local community's public lands and water resources.

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