Two Schreiber High School AP (Advanced Placement) Environmental Science classes, nearly 50 students in all, met at the Guggenheim Preserve to learn about local flora and fauna first hand in November. Schreiber teachers, Julia Brandt and Ken Case accompanied Professor Betsy Gulotta on the field walk. Gulotta is an adjunct professor of biology at Nassau Community College, and Conservation Project Manager of Friends of the Hempstead Plains at Nassau Community College, an environmental organization working to restore and preserve the remaining Long Island prairie ecosystems.
Professor Gulotta taught the students about ecological succession, invasive species and the importance of reintroducing native plant species to our open spaces. She also identified many plant and bird species for the students. With their respective teachers, the students also participated in field experiments. They accomplished several objectives:
• observed and learned about different soil types
• completed transect surveys to measure biodiversity in the area
• used field guides to identify trees
• drew sketches of various leaf types
• completed individual written reflections on their connections with nature.
Some of the students also learned additional lessons. Jason Nelson said that we need to save our open space in Port Washington. Rachel Bosswick thought that it's important to let Port's kids know about this preserve. Evan Dremluk commented that we need to emphasize the importance of nature in our lives and make sure our politicians understand the need to preserve our remaining open space.
Professor Gulotta summed up the course, "Walking this Preserve with the students from Schreiber High School was a wonderful way to engage them in hands-on learning about Long Island's natural environment and to instill in them a sense of the importance of good stewardship of the land."
Ms. Gulotta donated her time for this project. In appreciation, PWGreen is making a generous donation to Friends of the Hempstead Plains. For more information on both these important environmental organizations, go to www.friendsofhp.org and www.pwgreen.org. Guggenheim Preserve is open to the public on Middle Neck Road across from the Sands Point Preserve and south of the golf course. If you drive, park on side streets off of Radcliff Avenue. PWgreen is an organization committed to saving open space.