Who doesn’t love to take a day away from their desk to enjoy the beach? Some students at Islip Academic Center (IAC) got to do just that, and give back to their community by participating in a beach cleanup at Smith Point Beach in Shirley, NY. The Islip Academic Center is an Eastern Suffolk BOCES school that provides services to students with special education needs.
The students who attended the cleanup did so as part of their Marine Science class. While they were at the beach, they not only cleaned up garbage but also collected shells from small seaside animals, such as scallops and sand fleas. The cleanup started at the Smith Point Beach Hut and continued onto the Fire Island National Seashore (FINS) Visitor Center. From the top balcony of the FINS Visitor Center, the students were able to see the full length of the beach and learn about some of the native wildlife on Fire Island.
“It’s important that the students not only learn about the ocean but see it for themselves,” said Kali Peragine, a general education teacher at IAC. “Keeping the beach clean is important to maintaining it as a habitat for all kinds of animals. Showing them that it’s in their backyard can help build a sense of responsibility for maintaining it.”
As they were getting ready to walk the beach, the group was approached by the St. George Seniors, a local group that was settling on the beach to have their spring gathering. The Seniors asked the students to help by moving some picnic tables into the shade. The students moved the tables without hesitation, proud of their several good deeds accomplished during the day.