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5th Graders at Greenport Elementary Adopt Widow’s Hole Preserve

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September 24, 2015

Mrs. Pawlik and her students bring life and activity to the bay.

On a beautiful crisp autumn morning in 2015, in waves of two, 40 5th graders from the Greenport Elementary School are traversing the shoreline of the Widow’s Hole Preserve – seining, sampling, sketching and exploring the bay as part of an East End-wide program “Day in the Life of the Peconic Estuary” organized by Brookhaven National Lab. This year, over 900 students took part in the program all along the estuary. This is just the most recent of a series of visits to Widow’s Hole Preserve by Stephanie Pawlik and her 5th graders – the newest of the Trust’s preserves on 4th Street and located on the estuary on Shelter Island Sound. Since November 2014, Mrs. Pawlik and her students have adopted the preserve as their own, visiting for study and to lend a hand in coastal clean-up. 

“Widow’s Hole Preserve truly became an outdoor classroom”

said Mrs. Pawlik in a recent article in the Greenport Schools newsletter.

With support from the Trust’s North Fork Stewardship Manager Denise Markut, parents including Yvonne Lieblein and local community volunteers Captain David Berson, Will Lieblein, Skylar Gillespie (a college student now, but once one of Mrs. Pawlik’s 5th graders), and Melissa Bondarchuk were on site working with the students to collect and examine samples from the estuary on this most recent fall morning. Over the year, the students are learning about the history, ecology, and conservation of our bays, wetlands and woodlands. Mrs. Pawlik was introduced to Widow’s Hole Preserve by School Superintendent David Gamberg, who has worked with Denise in the development of the farm-based learning program with 4th & 5th graders from Southold Elementary at the Agricultural Center at Charnews Farm. Mr. Gamberg, who knew about the conservation effort, thought Widow’s Hole could be a great place to connect students with nature. With journals, iPads, digital cameras, and inquisitive minds the students are collecting data and recording progress. Their plans in the future include helping with invasive plant removal, cultivating and planting native plant species and general maintenance and cleanup.

We are so happy to have the students at the Preserve!

Do you know a school or community group who would like to get more involved at a Preserve in your neighborhood? Contact us to learn more!