Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge - Field Trip Summary

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Submitted By cturner
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Field Trip Summary Report
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Submitted by: C. Turner EAS 201, Spring 2012

New York City is home to a diverse grouping of species - a varied assembly of organisms, each with its own form, function, and range of desirable living conditions. The CUNY SPS course “The Nature of New York” invites learners to investigate urban ecosystems, and evaluate the relationship between humans, the environment, and the ability of all living systems to do well on the planet.

As part of the natural science program, students were offered a guided tour though Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, New York, led by Professors George Jackman and Dr. Kwesi Amoa. Wildlife refuges are generally legislatively-protected territories where nature is supported and meant to thrive without the threat of harmful interference.1 The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge was developed as part of President Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to preserve and protect the nation’s natural resources in the early 1900’s. Currently managed by the National Park Service and part of the Gateway National Recreation Area2, the site is well known for its inhabitance of wild birds, and is home to various terrestrial and marine fauna. The park is surrounded by Jamaica Bay, and its landscape features two large fresh water ponds, a salt marsh and seasonal plant life.3 The weather for our winter field trip was mild (low to mid 40’s). The wind was brisk and the sun was shining.

We gathered in the Visitor Contact Station where Professor Jackman began the discussion by describing the estuary and the challenge of preserving it while sewage degrades the waterway. Making the connection between human consumption and waste, the professor explained that toxins released from our bodies, harmful chemicals used to treat sewage, and other pollutants can…...

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