“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind…” (Job 12:7-10)
On May 2nd, West Sayville Christian School (WSCS) took the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students on a field trip to Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Shirley, NY. Wertheim NWR is part of the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was a beautiful day so Mr. Jerfelis took advantage of this great opportunity to teach the children about nature conservation, what the National Wildlife Refuge System does, and the need to protect land as a habitat for plant and animal life.
Next, Mr. Jerfelis and his Visitor Services colleague, Rachel, loaned everyone binoculars before leading a hike through a nature trail looking for wildlife. Kids and adults saw several species of birds while “birding,” or actively observing birds in their natural habitat. Mr. Jerfelis and Rachel helped identify different birds spotted, like the double-crested cormorant, yellow warbler, downy/hairy woodpecker, and tree swallows. Along the trail, turtles were lounging on rocks and logs along the Carmans River.
After the nature walk, Mr. Jerfelis and Rachel put on waders to drudge the river with a giant seine net. That brought up shrimp, baby eels, small fish, and macroinvertebrates, such as the Water Penny. Then, WSCS youth had an outdoor lab exercise with those same species. They filled observation cups with water to scoop marine life into them using small nets in order to examine the animals with a magnifying glass. At the end, Wertheim NWR hosts carefully returned all marine life back to the river. This adventure allowed those involved a chance to study the complex ecosystem while enjoying the natural environment that surrounds them.
Submitted by Christine Bailey (Parent) Mr. Jerfelis Pimentel (Teacher)