During the month of October, the Education team from the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) developed and delivered a series of programs to 5th grade students from the Waterside Children’s Studio School in commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. With the goal of connecting the theme of ecological resilience to community resilience, the education team at JBRPC led four 5th grade classes on a field trip to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. During their visit, students participated in a nature walk, explored the Jamaica Bay coastal ecosystem, and learned about the disruption to the park’s ecosystem caused by Hurricane Sandy–specifically the breach of the West Pond. Classes learned about the West Pond Living Shoreline Restoration Project, which uses natural features to protect the trail and the West Pond from future erosion and impacts of extreme weather.
After the visit, JBRPC’s education team led students in a discussion of community resilience. After learning how the Refuge’s ecosystem has proven to be resilient, students reflected on the recovery of their Rockaway communities. The students, many of whom were infants at the time of the hurricane, shared similar sentiments throughout the discussion– Rockaway has come back stronger and better prepared for another big storm.
To capture the inspiration of resilience in nature and the community, students painted small fabric squares. The squares were joined to create a “Resilience Quilt” that draws connections between the community, its people, and natural resources.
“I hope that with the lessons learned during our workshops, students feel empowered to one day be decision makers who can advocate for climate action and protect their communities,” Delilah Florentino, Education Programs Manager, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy said.
“I am thankful to the teachers at the Waterside Children’s Studio School who do incredible work, to the education team for finding new ways to engage and to the students who continue to inspire.” Terri Carta, Executive Director, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy said.