Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hundreds of Students Learn about the Ecological Effects of Superstorm Sandy

Sandy Hook Beaches, Trails, and Marshes Become Outdoor Classrooms at Clean Ocean Action’s Student Summit

Group on Tuesday, May 21

Students learning about horseshoe crabs on May 22

Over 600 middle school students and teachers, from 20 schools in Northern and Central New Jersey joined scientists and volunteer teachers for a day of learning on the beach at Clean Ocean Action’s two-day Annual Spring Student Summit held on May 21 and May 22. Students experienced hands-on marine environmental education by participating in six learning table activities and twelve interactive field trips. The beaches, trails, and marshes of Sandy Hook served as the outdoor classroom for the seaside symposium. This year, the round-table activities and interactive field trips are tied to the ecological effects of Superstorm Sandy.

Students participated in six hands-on learning table activities, which included live horseshoe crabs, identifying seashells, studying invertebrates, observing a model of nonpoint source pollution, and learning the effects of litter in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on the marine environment. Students also participated in an activity showcasing the importance of dunes. Students from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, a Monmouth County vocational high school located on Sandy Hook, served as peer teachers at the activity workstations.

In addition, naturalists and other education professionals led students in twelve field activities throughout the park. Students used seine nets to collect and identify common marine species of Sandy Hook Bay and learned about key bird species and the important role of Sandy Hook in bird migration. Students also participated in a beach cleanup, tested water quality, learned fishing & surfing techniques, traversed trails with park naturalists, and learned about beach profiling.

The 2013 Spring Student Summit was made possible by donations from private foundations, businesses, and citizens, including Provident Bank Foundation.

The following schools participated in the Spring Student Summit: 

May 21 Participating Schools: Timothy Christian (Piscataway), Asbury Park Middle (Asbury Park), Carl Sandburg Middle (Old Bridge), Colin Powell Elementary (Union City), Lincoln Elementary (Caldwell), Long Branch Middle (Long Branch), Memorial (S. Hackensack), Our Lady of the Lake (Verona), Sacred Heart School (Morris), Saint Jerome (W. Long Branch), South Orange Middle (S. Orange), St. Joseph Regional (Newton).

May 22 Participating Schools: Academy Middle (Jersey City), Joao Antao (Elizabeth), Long Branch Middle (Long Branch), Memorial (Washington), Newark Christian (Newark), Passaic Art and Science Charter (Passaic), St. Andrew the Apostle (Clifton), The OLC School (Jersey City)

About COA’s Student Summits:

For 25 years, Clean Ocean Action’s Summits have reached over 15,000 students in New Jersey, expanding learning beyond the classroom. The Summit program presents students with an interdisciplinary marine and environmental education experience that complements the NJ Science Standards.

COA invites northern and central New Jersey public and private schools to the Spring Student Summit, which is held in mid-May at Sandy Hook. The Fall Student Summit takes place in early October, at Island Beach State Park for southern public and private schools. Schools are mailed applications prior to the Summits and are accepted based on the application and availability. 

For information on additional COA educational programs or events, visit or call COA’s Main Office at (732) 872-0111.

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