Since 2020, the American Littoral Society has been a key partner working with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), New York City Schools and other partners on the Resilient Schools Consortium (RiSC) program.
Recently, a short documentary about that work was shown at New York University. The screening was followed by a panel discussion on teaching children about climate change and the ecology of Coney Island Creek. The panel included Alexandra Kanonik, our Jamaica Bay Program Director.
The film, titled "Where it Floods: Planting Hope in Coney Island," follows the journey of students from seven NYC middle and high schools as they learn about climate science, climate impacts and the natural and built solutions that increase climate resiliency in Coney Island. The film itself is narrated by one of these students who is now getting ready to graduate and looking to enter the field of climate science and advocacy.
Ring in the New Year with a walk on the beach. Join the American Littoral Society at Sandy Hook, NJ or Ft. Tilden, NY on January 1 at 11 a.m. for our 48th Annual New Year's Day walks!
The walks are free and suitable for anyone able to walk a few miles, with part of that distance being on sandy beaches. Leashed dogs are welcome. Dress for the weather and bring your own water.
Participants in the New York walk will meet at 11 a.m. at The Little Church, just inside Fort Tilden's 169th Street Entrance and walk to the end of Breezy Point (about three miles). Register on our website.
The Sandy Hook walk will meet at 11 a.m. outside Littoral Society Headquarters in the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area (Building 18 on Officers Row; GPS address is 18 Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ). We will walk to the northern tip of Sandy Hook (just under 3 miles). Register on our website.
When we arrive at our destinations, the two groups will attempt to signal each other across the New York/New Jersey Bight.
Teachers from Vineland, NJ's Compass Academy Charter School recently participated in a professional development workshop hosted by Littoral Society Director of Education Michelle Rebilas. The theme was “Teaching in the Outdoors” and it focused on using the Nature Center on their school grounds as an Outdoor Classroom for learning, exploration, and wellness.
Participants, who teach pre-K through 5th grade at Compass Academy, each received a Teaching in the Outdoors curriculum guide containing custom lesson plans to engage their students in the Outdoor Classroom.
Teachers from subjects ranging from art to science, math, reading, writing, and resource/technology had the opportunity to practice the Nature Center activities and take on the role of the student for the day. They used their senses, explored what lives under a log, went on a wildlife detective mission, sorted colors, shapes, and categories, created nature journals, made art in nature and practiced inquiry and science skills. Teachers were encouraged to get curious, find teachable moments, get dirty, and try something new!
Some may remember a discussion Littoral Society staff had last year with Ty Gould-Jacinto of the Native American Advancement Corporation (NAAC). In it, we talked about a 63-acre tract of land that she and her organization were working to preserve. We are happy to share that they have succeeded in that goal, and the Cohanzick Nature Reserve is officially owned by the NAAC!
We’d like to congratulate our allies at the NAAC on their success and thank them for their continued work in caring for the coast. While the Cohanzick Nature Reserve is not open to the public yet, it is expected to be in the near future. When it does open, the Littoral Society plans to host educational events there as we continue to learn with and from the Lenape people in South Jersey.
"We see establishing the reserve as not just important to our mission, but also crucial for that area of New Jersey and for the Lenape people,” says Lucia Osborne, Director of the Littoral Soceity’s Delaware Bayshore Office. "In addition to empowering tribe members living in the area, it will also have a big impact on the bayshore environment, while offering an amazing place to teach other people the importance of preserving nature and how that will affect their lives."
Twenty eighth graders from Bridgeton, NJ recently spent a day kayaking with the American Littoral Society. For some of them, it was their first-time paddling.
The students from the Bridgeton ExCEL Program joined staff from the Littoral Society’s southern New Jersey office at Sunset Lake, which is part of the town in which they live and just north of Bridgeton City Park. After some basic instruction they got out on the water for some paddling practice.
Part of the Society’s mission is to help people experience the natural world, often in their own backyard, in a new way so that they grow to appreciate the importance of these spaces. As part of that, many of these same students learned how to identify some of the plant and animal species in the area during a Spring hike along the trail around the lake. As a result, they now have a first-hand feel for the whole ecosystem on and off the water.
This was the first of a series of kayaking programs staff from the Society’s Delaware Bayshore office will be doing. Those programs are funded by a grant from the Mohawk Canoe Club.
More trips have been planned with local schools and the general public for the spring. If you live in South Jersey keep an eye on the Littoral Society’s social media and website calendar if you would like to go paddling with us!
While the heavy lifting may be done at the Littoral Society's project in Forked River Beach, NJ, work at the site will continue for the foreseeable future.
In addition to monitoring and maintenance of the living shoreline project, which is designed to protect homes and habitat along an eroding section of Barnegat Bay's shoreline while also reducing the amount of sediment getting into the water, Littoral Society staff will continue meeting with and speaking to residents and officials from the surrounding community.
Reef building was completed on Oct. 16-17, with installation of the final sections by our contractor Albert Marine Construction. The protective reef now runs just offshore from near the mouth of Forked River in the north, to a lagoon located at the southern end of Beach Boulevard.
Those final reef sections mark the first use of recycled shells from the Littoral Society's "Shuck It, Don't Chuck It!" program in a major restoration project. The reef has also been seeded with 32 million live oyster, as part of the Littoral Society's effort to help bring those bivalves to New Jersey's coastal waters.
The fruits of that effort are already evident: during this year's monitoring at the site, live oysters were found living on the reef.