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Harbor Country Day School "Citizen Scientists" Explore and Analyze Nissequogue River

Written by Long Island News & PR  |  12. October 2016

St. James, NY - October 11, 2016 - On October 7, 48 students from Harbor Country Day School, led by science teachers Lauren Rosella and Kevin Hughes, joined nearly 400 other students and teachers from across Suffolk County to engage in hands-on “citizen science exploration” during the annual Day in the Life of the Nissequogue River.


Photo by Harbor Country Day School.

Sponsored by the Central Pine Barrens Commission, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the Day in the Life program brings students from third through twelfth grade to Long Island’s major river systems in order to explore, analyze, and share scientific data from one of the region’s most precious natural  resources.


Photo by Harbor Country Day School.

“Harbor is honored to have been a part of this incredible event for the third year in a row,” said John Cissel, Head of School for Harbor Country Day School. “Programs like this are aligned with our school motto of ‘Sine labore nihil’ -- nothing comes without hard work. Harbor students are taught to work with purpose, and how to make it fun. Exploring and collecting scientific information first-hand, analyzing the physical and chemical aspects of the river and its ecosystem, collecting and publishing data to enhance the public’s understanding of the river -- this hands-on work is much more demanding than reading a textbook or sitting in a lecture. And thanks to that hard work, the lessons the children learn in this program far exceed any learning that takes place in a classroom.”


Photo by Harbor Country Day School.

During their visit, Harbor students caught and studied fish; collected and analyzed water samples to monitor water quality; conducted a physical analysis of the weather, current, and tides affecting the river; and conducted a site analysis of the river’s rocks, minerals, and other characteristics.

“A Day in the Life helps students develop an understanding of Long Island’s river and estuary ecosystems and collect useful scientific data,” said program coordinator Melissa Griffiths Parrott. “It teaches students to become stewards of water quality and Suffolk County’s spectacular natural resources.”

All data the students collected is made public and is used for various environmental purposes, including tracking the health of the aquatic ecosystem and biodiversity of the Nissequogue River from year-to- year. In addition, the program raises awareness among children about the importance of protecting and restoring Long Island’s aquatic ecosystems, as water quality issues continue to permeate Long Island.

About Harbor Country Day School
Founded in 1958 by conscientious parents, Harbor Country Day School is an independent, co-educational school for children from Preschool through Grade Eight located in the Village of Head of the Harbor in St. James. The school’s mission, “Harbor cherishes childhood, cultivates wonder and inspires confident learners and leaders,” is at the center of the school’s program and culture, underscoring every child’s experience at Harbor Country Day School. Emphasizing a whole-child approach to education, Harbor offers a rigorous curriculum enhanced by strong offerings in technology, visual and performing arts, advisory, and athletics, as well as an emphasis on character development. Graduates of Harbor Country Day School are fearless learners and reflective leaders who negotiate effectively and possess the moral and ethical foundation that prepares them to exhibit compassion and tolerance in a global community. Harbor Country Day School is also home to a leading Long Island summer program, Camp Harbor, which includes educational workshops designed to inspire curiosity, in addition to more traditional camp offerings.

Harbor Country Day School is chartered by the New York State Board of Regents and is accredited by, and a member of, the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). It is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS Code governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees. For more information, visit www.hcdsny.org.

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