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osprey close up from summer education
osprey students for summer education
students inspecting their ecological findings

Aug. 16, 2023-- One of the most exciting programs offered to students in grades 6-12 this summer, like last year, was "Ecology through the Eyes of the Osprey."

It aimed to immerse students in local ecology by allowing them to experience all the different ecosystems in the Barnegat Bay Watershed, and provide an understanding of how the living and nonliving things within them interact. The program focused on a once-endangered top predator, the osprey (top right), but demonstrated how interconnected everything that surrounds us is, including our human impact on them.

Throughout the week, participants were able to view the osprey in its natural habitat, including nesting young, and study their surroundings. Student experiences included seining and a guided boat ride at Cattus Island, a nature walk and finding macroinvertebrates with a local expert in Double Trouble State Park, and a trip to Sedge Island with Ben Wurst, New Jersey's leading expert on ospreys. On Sedge Island, students toured the historic Sedge House, listened to Ben's stories, went clamming, and even put up a new osprey nest. Water and soil quality testing was done at each location and compared back in the classroom.

The experience was fun enough, in fact, to warrant a highlight video courtesy of TRSTV: