From April 16 to April 26, students rolled up their sleeves to bag oyster shells, plant the seeds of plants that attract bees and otherwise help our local environment.
From April 16 to April 26, students rolled up their sleeves to bag oyster shells, plant the seeds of plants that attract bees and otherwise help our local environment. The occasion was for Earth Week—a week preceding Earth Day on Sunday, April 22, 2018. But Adelphi went beyond one week and held 10 days of events that included a harbor and beach cleanup at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and inviting representatives of local environmental groups to campus so students could learn about their work prior to a performance by Secret Drum Band.
Did you know that oysters keep the ocean healthy by filtering water and reducing ocean acidification? And that oyster reefs are necessary for keeping oyster populations healthy? Oyster habitats are endangered, and helping is as simple as returning oyster shells back into the water.
That’s the aim of the Community Oyster Restoration Effort (CORE). Under the guidance of Adelphi faculty Aaren Freeman, Ph.D., associate professor of marine biology, and Ruth Coffey, Ph.D., visiting professor of environmental studies, members of Adelphi’s Environmental Action Coalition are working with the Town of Hempstead and Long Beach High School to collect shells from restaurants and festivals that would end up in landfills, then seed them with juvenile oysters and place them in oyster restoration habitats along Long Island’s south shore.
On April 17, students, faculty and staff joined graduate student Ryan Revette in bagging oyster shells. “Until I met with Dr. Freeman and discussed this initiative, I had no idea that the natural oyster reef population in Long Island had become so depleted,” said Revette. “Oyster reefs play a very important role in marine ecosystems, such as filtering water, as well as many other crucial functions such as sequestering blue carbon or the carbon dissolved in water. I feel these organisms are overlooked in terms of environmental conservation and their ecological importance. This project not only serves to help bring back healthy oyster reefs here, where they have historically been in abundance, but also raise awareness within the community.”
Joanna Troyanos, a student and resident assistant in Chapman Hall, hosted one of the seed planting events on April 25 as part of General Mills’ Bring Back the Bees campaign.
“There were five planting trays in total that the seedlings were planted in, each of them full,” explained Troyanos. “These seedlings were then placed on the Chapman Hall lounge windowsill to grow into hardier plants; so far progress is great and they are coming alive!”
Once the plants are strong enough, they will be distributed along the fence that borders the Adelphi parking lot and the Waldorf School.
“This event not only promoted the importance of Earth Day,” she continued, “it involved resident students in a campuswide initiative between multiple departments and encouraged resident students to be more active within the Adelphi community.”
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