Coney Island Creek has been a neglected body of water in Brooklyn, NY, for many years. Members of New York State Marine Education Association (NYSMEA) and Cultural Research Divers organized "It's My Estuary Day" to take place at Kaiser Park, on the banks of Coney Island Creek, on May 30. It was a celebratory community service event which brought awareness to the salt marsh estuary on both sides of the creek.
Over 300 K-12 students attended from eight local schools, along with politicians, scientists, and representatives from science organizations, diving and engineering companies, and colleges. Students involved with The Billion Oyster Project relocated oyster gardens to the park as part of an effort to restore New York Harbor with oyster reefs. Students learned how to monitor oyster growth and collect water chemistry data. They also used technology to gather weather and climate data.
There was an organized coastal cleanup along the beach which removed over one ton of marine debris. Brooklyn College displayed a Jamaica Bay resiliency plan and a seaweed touch tank.
Students and an engineering firm launched their underwater robots: Sea Perch ROVs and a professional ROV.
Students and educators seined for fish in a project identifying fish species called the Great Fish Count organized by Columbia University, which was coordinated in 13 sites around New York City on that day. Local scientists spoke on several current marine topics to an audience composed mainly of high school students.
A collaboration of organizations called "Making Waves," which includes NYSMEA, is trying to bring a marine education barge featuring a marine science teaching lab and commercial dive training center to Kaiser Park. Overall, it was a great day with over 500 people in attendance, and it brought marine environmental awareness to the local community!
- Lane Rosen, NYSMEA President