This summer, I spent five weeks working as a teacher’s assistant at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Southold, New York. I’ve spent many summers working at this location, and this summer was the most time I’ve spent there. I worked under Mark Cappellino, educating young local children about the marine ecosystems that surround their homes and schools. The children are always fully engaged in learning about the various animals that inhabit Peconic Bay – they especially love to observe the huge horseshoe crabs and minuscule seahorses. Their favorite activity is to drag a seine net through the water off the beach to see what kind of animals they can catch. Another successful summer at Cornell Cooperative Extension!
This summer, I worked with the SPAT program in Southold, NY. SPAT bring together the community to help preserve the numerous species of shellfish that inhabit Peconic Bay. These species include oysters, scallops, and clams. People from across Suffolk County volunteer three days a week to care for these animals, who are vital parts of the ecosystem. Apart from working at the extension, homemade cages are built and distributed to all of the volunteers. These allow them to grow their own seed during the summer months. The SPAT program has become so effective that people have begun to harvest their seed rather then overpopulate the bay. This keeps the food chain in tact, while providing delicious shellfish for hundreds of families across Suffolk County.
This summer, I worked at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Southold, NY. I did several different things to help out around the center, from teaching them about local marine life to scrubbing display tanks. However, my favorite activity was helping a junior with a summer-long project. She was measuring the growth of oysters in comparison to the water temperature and location. Even though I just assisted her in sifting through thousands of oysters, it was enlightening experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life.