Announcing that, “our beaches are for the birds,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, the New York Audubon Society and a group of Roosevelt students unveiled a sign campaign, urging residents to share the Sandy ravaged shoreline with some endangered feathered friends.
“Hurricane Sandy didn’t just destroy homes, but also damaged habitats,” said Supervisor Murray. “These birds rely on the beaches during the summer to nest. It is important to ensure that they are undisturbed so that they can nest, rest, and refuel,” continued Supervisor Murray.
Fourth and fifth grade students from Washington Rose Elementary School in Roosevelt participated in a poster contest effort to bring awareness to beach visitors to share the beach with migratory and beach-nesting bird species. Winners of the contest were selected by the New York Audubon Society and the children’s posters have been made into signs which will be posted at Town of Hempstead beaches along dunes and other areas.
“Our beaches and coasts are important summertime destinations for millions of people, and we all share the responsibility to preserve the habitat they provide to birds,” said Erin Crotty, Executive Director of Audubon New York. “There is no better place to make a difference for these unique and threatened birds than on the sunny beaches of Long Island with the very people who play a direct role in their survival. We’re honored to be working with the Town of Hempstead and the Washington Rose Elementary School to launch this innovative education campaign at a critical time in these birds’ life cycles.”
Species of concern such as Sanderling, Red Knot, and Semipalmated Sandpiper rely on the beaches of New York and New Jersey during spring and fall migration, while numerous other species such as Piping Plovers, Least Terns, and American Oystercatchers rely on the beaches during the summer to nest. These hardy little birds are threatened by predators, extreme weather conditions and human disturbance, and many have been declining in recent years.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Audubon New York to protect these delicate habitats,” added Councilwoman Cullin.
“I am so proud of all of the students from Washington Rose Elementary School who participated in this poster contest,” stated Councilwoman Goosby. “Their artwork creatively depicted what visitors should do to be kind to our feathered friends and I am delighted that their work will be prominently displayed by the birds’ nesting areas.”
In addition, Audubon New York volunteers will be on hand to provide educational programs and beach tours on two upcoming days this summer: Sunday, June 23rd and Sunday, July 7th.
“Working together, we can protect this natural habitat and make certain that these birds have a nesting and resting place for many years to come,” concluded Supervisor Murray.