By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Coney Island shoreline became a giant classroom for a group of Brooklyn fourth-and fifth-graders who took part in a unique program designed to turn students into junior marine biologists.
Wearing chest waders, the students gathered water samples to test quality and used seine nets to collect flora and fauna for biodiversity sampling and identification during the shoreline lesson on July 31. The kids also learned about aquatic habitats and the impact of pollution on the environment.
It was all part of the City Parks Foundation’s Coastal Classroom, an educational year-round program that features water-based lessons for students that focus on river ecology, water quality, urban waterfront restoration and preservation.
The City Parks Foundation works with New York City’s public schools and community groups to bring the Coastal Classroom to waterfront communities. The July 31 program took place in the water off Kaiser Park in Coney Island.
According to the City Parks Foundation website, Coastal Classroom offers workshops that give youngsters a hands-on experience. Lessons are focused on coastal ecology, aquatic habitats, and water quality restoration. The program is open to students from grade four and up.
Founded in 1989, City Parks Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that offers park programs throughout the five boroughs. The foundation works in more than 750 parks in the city, presenting free arts, sports, and education programs and encourages residents to support their local parks.
The foundation estimates that its programs and community-building initiatives reach more than 600,000 people each year.
For more information, visit www.cityparksfoundation.org.