Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways
The Daily Plant : Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Students And Stewards Clean Up The Coast
On a picturesque Saturday afternoon this spring, over three dozen volunteers got to the point. Dubos Point, that is. The local volunteers teamed up with the GreenApple Corps to remove over 20 cubic yards of driftwood and other debris from the shoreline of Dubos Point Wildlife Sanctuary, helping to restore the luster of this "Rockaway jewel."
"What a difference a year makes," remarked one local volunteer. Several volunteers who braved the cool, rainy weather last year, returned to help out this year and were rewarded with warm, sunny weather. The American Littoral Society, the Graybeards Ltd., and the Norton Basin Edgemere Stewardship Group also returned for the Second Annual Coastal Cleanup. The tireless volunteer and outreach efforts are immensely valuable to the local community and helped to reach new volunteers from the Arverne Civic Association and the Scholars Academy.
Nearly one-third of the volunteers at this event were from the Scholars Academy, a new competitive-admissions middle school in the Rockaways. According to a school administrator, while community service is a requirement for the students, many students far exceed the school’s standards and have come to view service as "something fun to do on the weekends." In fact, some of the students helped clean up Jamaica Bay the previous weekend and helped plant the new greenway on Cross Bay Boulevard the following weekend. The students added a fun energy to the cleanup, with their imagination (pretending trash grabbers were robotic hands) and their curiosity (trying to find different species of birds and marine life, and asking all sorts of questions).
Several of the students’ parents also volunteered, helping to foster the spirit of stewardship. The intergenerational experience was a highlight of the event. It was great to see the students interacting with the older volunteers, and in the process, learning more about the history and ecology of the local area.
For GreenApple Corps members, this was a unique opportunity to teach and inspire the next generation of volunteers. The GreenApple Corps is an AmeriCorps initiative of Parks & Recreation that began in November, 2004 and concentrates in three program areas: Environmental Education, Ecological Restoration and Urban Forestry. The program seeks to preserve and restore delicate natural areas, increase the street tree population, and educate children as environmentally aware citizens and stewards.
At Dubos Point, GreenApple Corps members were able to teach volunteers about the tools and the skills they regularly use in the field. The GreenApple Corps have concentrated all three of their missions at the Rockaways and have devoted over a week each year to the shoreline restoration of Dubos Point. Both the Corps and the local community have begun to reap the benefits of continued, long-term involvement at the site. Local residents have remarked that there is less overall litter, and Emilio Sosa, a GreenApple Corps member who has returned for a second year of service, noted that long-stem grasses are beginning to return to the site, signifying an improvement in the health of the ecosystem.
Dubos Point will be the focus of several upcoming cleanup efforts, including the International Coastal Cleanup in September, which is hosted by the American Littoral Society. Prior to then, there will be several opportunities to volunteer with the GreenApple Corps on cleanups and urban forest restoration projects throughout the boroughs.
For more information on volunteering with the GreenApple Corps on upcoming events and projects, please call (212) 360-1463.
Submitted by Brian Aucoin
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"I am always at a loss to know how much to believe of my own stories"
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Know Before You Go
Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
Piping plovers are back at Rockaway Beach to nest through summer! It is important to share the beach with these NYS endangered shorebirds. To help keep the piping plovers and their nesting areas safe, the beach and shoreline from Beach 36th Street to Beach 57th Street is closed to the public.
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