Could there possibly be a greater natural classroom than the Long Island’s Central Pine Barrens region? With its rivers, bays, streams and wetlands; dense pine forests teeming with wildlife; beautiful and productive farmland; historical structures; vast open spaces and so much more, you could explore the region for years and never run out of new things to see and study.
Due to this bounty of natural beauty, the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission stages most of its educational programming outside the classroom and within the pine barrens region.
“Barrens to Bay” Summer Camp
For a summer camp experience like no other, send your child to the “Barrens to Bay” summer camp co-sponsored by the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission and Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge.
Open to campers from six to 12 years old and held at Wertheim, the camp allows campers to explore wildlife on the many beautiful nature trails at the refuge and the Carmans River and its ecosystem. Campers will learn about marine and environmental science, track animals and study specimens with microscopes, among many other fun activities. Your kids will expand their knowledge of the pine barrens ecosystem while having a fun and unique camp experience.
The camp is split into sessions for campers six to nine years old and for campers 10 to 12 years old and runs from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the summer months. Each session is one week long, and there are three sessions available for each age group.
Check back here to find out when to sign up your camper for the next summer camp.
“A Day in the Life” of Local River Programs
One of the most elaborate and successful programs operated by the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission is the “A Day in the Life” program, in which students from schools all throughout the Central Pine Barrens region and beyond spend a day studying the ecosystems of many of the rivers that run through this beautiful natural resource.
The program has expanded greatly in recent years, now involving approximately 4,000 students and 50 school districts assisted by more than 130 teachers, dozens of partner agencies and hundreds of natural history experts and science teachers. River systems studied now include the Carmans River, Connetquot River, Nissequogue River and Peconic Estuary, among other areas explored.
“A Day in the Life” allows students to explore and collect firsthand information to discover how the river they’re studying fits into the larger ecosystem. Students examine the physical and chemical aspects of each aquatic ecosystem, such as salinity and the presence of nitrates, phosphates and oxygen levels in the water. Students also conduct biodiversity inventories of the flora and fauna in and around the rivers and estuary.
The program is coordinated by the Commission in conjunction with the Suffolk County Water Authority, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Parks Department.
To learn more visit “A Day in the Life” of Local River Programs
To learn more about these exciting field programs and how to get involved contact our Education and Outreach Coordinator Melissa Griffiths Parrott at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 631-218-1177.