The World Is Their Oyster

Long Beach Science Students Take Steps to Support the Earth’s Ecosystems

In honor of Earth Day, formally observed this year on April 22, people all over the world took the opportunity to appreciate and help the environment. As part of a coastal community with a strong connection to nature, Long Beach High School students made special efforts to preserve their local waters and land. Science classes took time on Friday, April 20 to engage in hands-on learning that will create a clean and improved ecosystem. 

The students bagged thousands of clam shells provided by the Town of Hempstead as a continuation of an ongoing project to help restore New York State’s oyster population. Long Beach High School began this collaborative initiative with the Town of Hempstead and Cornell Labs in the fall, when the students built an oyster reef in the high school pond. First, they spent time studying the best area of the pond for the reef to thrive, away from parasites and other factors that might be detrimental. They then placed thousands of oysters and clam shells in the pond and are monitoring growth rate compared to size, tracking the mortality rate and observing which organisms are attracted to the reef as a result. 

The shells that the students sorted in conjunction with Earth Day will be placed in the pond with oyster larvae next fall, in hopes that they will attach. The high school classes, which were assisted by graduate students from Adelphi University, also cleaned up the pond and gardened the grounds that surround it.