Embarking on a captivating marine adventure, Green Vale’s Upper School Marine Science club recently visited the picturesque shores of Oak Beach. Nestled along the inlet of the Great South Bay, between Fire Island and the Long Island mainland, Oak Beach stands as a vital aquatic estuary, teeming with life.
Amidst this natural wonder, our students immersed themselves in a hands-on exploration, wielding seine nets and dip nets to capture an array of marine specimens.
Among the specimens discovered were Northern Seahorses, Pipefish, Grass Shrimp, and the elusive Northern Puffer Fish. The list extended to include Striped Burrfish, Black Sea Bass, and Schoolmaster Snappers–each a testament to the diverse marine life thriving in our local waters. As evidence to the interconnectedness of our world, some specimens were exotic tropicals, voyagers from the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, brought to our shores by the Gulf Stream.
Back at Green Vale’s Marine Science Lab, these specimens found a temporary home in our aquariums and touch tank, becoming subjects of further study and research. Under the guidance of Frank Zanone, a passionate and knowledgeable Upper School Science teacher at Green Vale, our students delved deep into the scientific intricacies, learning not just to identify and record these different specimens, but also understanding the delicate balance of our local aquatic ecosystems.
“There is no substitute for hands-on research out in the field,” said Zanone. “This trip not only provided our students with real-world science applications, but also an opportunity to better understand and appreciate our local marine ecosystem.”
Our Marine Science program at Green Vale isn’t just about classroom learning; it’s about fostering a profound appreciation for our local marine environments and the ecological challenges they face. Through meticulous observation, measurement, and analysis, our students gain a holistic understanding of living and non-living factors that shape our coastal habitats.
In addition to the invaluable field experiences, students learn the art of aquarium setup and maintenance, conducting controlled experiments to decipher the secrets of our local waters.
"My favorite part of the Oak Beach trip was learning about and discovering new sea creatures that I didn't know existed on Long Island such as Puffer fish, seahorses, and Pipefish," added GVS 6th Grade student, Griff Fox. "I also had fun catching them with my friends."
This Oak Beach expedition, with its real-world science applications, enriched our students' scientific knowledge and kindled a profound respect for our local marine ecosystem. Through these immersive experiences, we empower our students as learners and as guardians of our precious aquatic heritage, instilling in them a lifelong love for the world beneath the waves.