A Day in the Life of the Peconic Estuary

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Photos courtesy of Lynn Stewart and Sean Knight
Photos courtesy of Lynn Stewart and Sean Knight

On Friday, fifth graders and seventh graders visited Louse Point, Landing Lane, and Lazy Point beaches to conduct water quality testing of the Peconic Estuary. 188 students in total, the most students Island-wide involved in this testing, were able to get their feet wet and contribute their findings with the Central Pine Barrens Commission, which coordinates the program with the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Suffolk County Water Authority, and the State Department of Environmental Conservation. Science teachers Sean Knight and Rob Walker led students to collect water samples, measure wind temperature and speed, and study the aquatic life native to these waters. On the same day, other schools on Long Island studied the Connetquot River and the Nissequogue River. All of these students will share their scientific findings with the Commission and Brookhaven Lab. "We've been working with students over the past month to prepare them for the field test," said Mr. Knight. "Mr. Casale was very supportive in allowing our school to be part of this great day of testing. We're very thankful that our school takes great pride in our local environments." Mr. Knight also noted that with the amount of fertilizer used in our area, it is very important that studies like this are done so that we can see how it is affecting our quality of water.

The "A Day in the Life" program began in 2011 and since then, Springs School is one of the 37 schools in Suffolk County now taking part in this research. The day is more than just a "field trip" - it allows students to collect first-hand information about their communities, gain knowledge about natural resources, and explore how the estuary fits into the larger ecosystem of Long Island. Students used kits to study nitrate, phosphate, dissolved oxygen, and salinity levels in the water, and enter this data into an online database which then can be used to compare findings from previous years. Research findings can be found by clicking here