SANDY CREEK – With the school year drawing to a close, dozens of Sandy Creek Middle School students recently had a chance to showcase their science knowledge and receive a first-hand lesson about the Lake Ontario ecosystem.
The group of sixth-graders explored sand dunes at Southwick Beach, identified birds and aquatic species, created a food web and participated in other learning activities as part of Dune Fest.
The annual event is organized by New York Sea Grant, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Parks as a way to educate students about a variety of environmental topics.
“This is a great way for students to review what they have learned,” said Sandy Creek sixth grade teacher Galen Fellows. “There are a lot of life science activities, and I hope the kids walk away with a better appreciation for the environment and everything that surrounds us.”
That sense of appreciation was evident while students listened as experts discussed aquatic biology, physical science and animal habitats.
The sixth graders realized the value of the ecosystem by creating a food web.
As part of the activity, students formed a circle around teacher Kim Curley, who represented the sun, which serves as the energy needed to build a successful food web.
The students, wearing signs representing different species, passed a ball of string to one another and illustrated the relationships between the different levels of the food web.
“The students are really interested in the different stations and activities,” Curley said. “This is an authentic learning experience and I hope they have some new knowledge about the environment and Lake Ontario.”