Local Kids Get Wet Learning about Beach Ecology at Goosewing Beach Preserve

Children, and adults alike, fill out their "Nature Passports" as they visit "Exploration Stations".

Little Compton, RI | July 18, 2009

The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with the Little Compton Garden Club hosted its second annual “Goosewing Family Day” on Saturday, July 18. Held at the Goosewing Beach Preserve in Little Compton, Rhode Island, the event attracted over 100 local youth and their parents, giving them the opportunity to explore pristine seashore and learn about its wildlife from Conservancy’s biologists.

Conservancy staff set up multiple “Exploration Stations” along the beach where kids could spy on rare shorebirds and cast seine nets for tiny sea creatures. At each Station, participants filled out a Nature Passport to record their discoveries. All participants received a special “Connect to Nature” prize patch.

“We are so happy to be able to offer this special program again this year,” said John Berg, the Conservancy’s Sakonnet Program Manager. “Our first-ever Family Day last year was so well-attended, we were struck by the desire of children and grown-ups to know more about all the special creatures that live on Goosewing.Teaching the next generation about Little Compton’s natural heritage helps ensure that its wonderful places like Goosewing Beach will remain in good hands in years to come.”

This program was inspired by the international movement “No Child Left Inside” encouraging children and families to get outside and explore the natural environment. “Many are beginning to believe that we could see big dividends in our physical, emotional and even economic health – especially in tough economic times by spending more time in nature,” said Pam Pomfret, Associate Director of Philanthropy for the Conservancy. “For stressed-out families, spending more time in the natural world is a simple and inexpensive way for families to re-connect with each other and with the world around them.”

Also on display during Family Day, was a sneak preview of plans for the new Goosewing Ecological Education Center.The Center will promote awareness of the natural world and encourage beach goers to become better stewards of their environment. Through expanded programs and walks as well as rotating educational exhibits, visitors will learn new things about the three different ecosystems co-existing at the site. The Conservancy is currently raising private funds to complete this project.

Purchased in 1989 by The Nature Conservancy for its extraordinary habitat, Goosewing Beach is bordered by the Atlantic on one side and by two salt ponds on the other. Less than a mile long, the Preserve contains barrier beach and dune, seasonal creeks and an an unusual coastal meadow. The Preserve is open to the public free of charge, but there is a parking fee at South Shore Beach. As part of their stewardship program at Goosewing, the Conservancy is managing populations of globally-rare Piping Plovers and state threatened Least Terns. The Conservancy’s work is in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s goal of reaching a population of 2,000 breeding pairs of Piping Plovers on the Atlantic Coast.

The Nature Conservancy works in Rhode Island and worldwide to conserve special places and ecosystems through real estate acquisition and restoration practices. The Conservancy has helped protect over 30,000 acres in the state and over 12 million acres worldwide. To learn more about the Conservancy and its work in Little Compton and Rhode Island visit their website at www.nature.org/rhodeisland.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Kevin Essington
401-331-7110, x24

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