This past Saturday, September 26, I spent the day with seven of our ten Bridgeport WildLife Guards back at Brideport, Connecticut's Pleasure Beach. That is where they were stationed five days each week this summer, conducting education, conservation and advocacy activities and making a difference for rare or endangered plants and wildlife, highlighted by the federally threatened Piping Plover. They engaged visitors and beachgoers, offering unique and innovative programs to convey the philosophy of sharing the beach and respecting our natural world as well as the complex ecosystems of this important habitat.
Our assignment this autumn day was to teach groups of visiting children about Piping Plovers and other coastal waterbirds as a part of an event for the Boy Scouts of America. In the photos below you can see our crew helping the kids in building baby Piping Plovers out of marshmallows, chocolate, pretzels, and raisins, a deliciously informative activity. Our second task involved using objects like hair clips and clothespins as bird beaks to attempt to "forage" for "prey", showing how species like the Common Tern and American Oystercatcher have specially evolved bills to feed on certain organisms in different environments.
In short, we had a sensational time! Even in these pictures you can see how much the children enjoyed working with us in these hands-on tasks, and we made sure they all left with a greater knowledge and appreciation of our birds. Our WildLife Guards season has been over for several weeks now, and all of this was volunteer time willingly put in by our wonderful crew. A tremendous thanks goes out to Ira Lockhart, Talisha Ortiz, Jamiya Williams, Alfred Green, Paris Jordan, Nathalie Vincent, and Sara Gallo for coming out to Pleasure Beach for one last day in 2015. We are so lucky to have them as colleagues and friends. We have all kept in touch with one another, discussing school and classes, jobs and career paths, college and more as we try to assist our students in any way we can. They have volunteered with us in multiple ways, and we hope to have another WildLife Guards event at a local school in November. Our work is year-round, nonstop, and always expanding - and we would not have it any other way.
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator
RTPI Conservation & Outreach Coordinator