The Bridgeport WildLife Guards are rolling along in the 2016 season, and last week I stopped in to visit them for a while on a couple of days. We went for a walk to see some Piping Plovers and Least Terns along their own Pleasure Beach and the connected Long Beach in Stratford, the two parts of the mile-long barrier beach. While Pleasure Beach’s Piping Plover has fledged we still sometimes find a bird or two foraging or flying by. No Least Terns nested there in 2016, but they are currently nesting in nearby areas of Long Beach. Those birds forage all over the general area so visitors still spot them at Pleasure Beach. I took our crew to get a better look at the continuing nesting activity in Stratford, and they did some trash collecting while we were at it!
We saw Least Tern pairs on nest along with a few hatchlings while also noting Piping Plover pairs and single adults, juvenile and fledged young, hatchlings still being attended by their parents, and birds still on nest. The WildLife Guards inform all of the beachgoers who visit their table about these birds and more wildlife along with all of the unique and rare plants and habitats this special location contains.
The children – and some adventurous adults – who visit the table can also enjoy learning about Piping Plovers in another way…
The touch tank activity, where our Guards new a few Pleasure Beach residents including crabs and fish, seems to be very popular with…well, everyone! The name of the game is getting people to care about the environment around them and value it as a resource to be enjoyed and protected for generations to come. These creatures are only with us for a bit before being returned to where they came from.
I do not think captions were needed for those photos, and I hope they conveyed the entertaining and enriching education occurring for everyone involved. Most importantly the Guards are getting along wonderfully with one another, having a great time and learning so much on their own. Ecosystem Jenga is one example of that…
The Guards take quizzes in order to gauge their progress with questions pertaining to endangered avian species, the site’s history, plant identification, and so forth, and here is Crew Leader Emily grading them.
Come on down to Pleasure Beach sometime soon! You have to meet the Guards in person to experience and appreciate the amazingly awesome work being done by this next generation of environmental educators and conservationists.
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator