RTPI has teamed up with Audubon Connecticut and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut to run the 2015 and 2016 WildLife Guards program, which trains, mentors, and employs ten local high schools students and two crew leaders who monitor nesting birds and engage visitors, families, and friends about the City’s Pleasure Beach and its ecosystem. The WildLife Guards offer unique activities for children like making their own Piping Plover, learning how bird bills work, seine netting, and plant and animal identification. The program, already set to run again in 2017, features education, conservation and advocacy in action five days a week, reaching thousands of visitors over the summer and making a difference for rare or endangered plants and wildlife on Pleasure Beach while creating the next generation of environmentalists.
Have you visited Pleasure Beach? If you are a birder, butterfly lover, or all-around naturalist, we encourage you to stop by in the summer via the water taxi! Getting there is easy with free parking at the water taxi pier lot, 91 Seaview Avenue, Bridgeport. The water taxi will bring visitors to and from Pleasure Beach, and is also free.
The WildLife Guards will be offering interactive activities for the general public July 8 through August 20, 2016. Come check out our activities table located at the pavilion. Our schedule of activities is…
Fridays in July and August:
Seine Netting from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Bird Beak Game from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Ecosystem Jenga offered all day
Saturdays in July and August:
Touch Tank from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Bird Mask Art from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Ecosystem Jenga offered all day
*Baby Marshmallow Piping Plover Activity also available both Fridays and Saturdays for the little ones. Great for inspiring young conservationist!
The rest of the WildLife Guards’ time on the beach is filled with conducting monitoring for Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Least Terns and Common Terns. They also complete additional avian site surveys across all of Pleasure Beach as well as vegetation and insect surveys for butterflies and dragonflies, beach clean-ups, and general outreach efforts with visitors. At the main pavilion the WildLife Guards greet beachgoers as they arrive or exit, discuss the history of Pleasure Beach, educate them about the cool animal and plant life they may find, inform them about Audubon Connecticut and RTPI conservation and education programs occurring here and throughout Connecticut, and leave them with a sense of our place in and responsibility to this incredible environment.
One of our tremendous RTPI’s WildLife Guard Crew Leaders from 2015, Emily Allen, has returned for the 2016 season. She is joined by the sensational Kari Lickey this year. Four of our WildLife Guards have returned from 2015 as well – Sara Gallo, Alfred Green, Talisha Ortiz, and Jamiya Williams, joined by new members who will continue this work into the future.
Be sure to follow the WildLife Guards page on Facebook and visit their own website which the Guards maintain. Audubon Connecticut Important Bird Area Program Coordinator Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe is heading up the program once again this year, and we thank her plus the City of Bridgeport and all of our friends on the beach for their continually great work. We will see you in 2017!