On Saturday, April 2nd, students from Pierson High School’s Environmental Club joined together for a volunteer event at Foster Memorial Beach, also known as Long Beach, in Noyac to help plant native coastal grasses. The event was hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension and was supported by Southampton Town Parks & Recreation Department and Noyac Civic Council.
While capped at 25 openings, Pierson’s Environmental Club was able to secure 11 volunteer spaces. Dr. Robert Schumacher, the Environmental Club’s Director, explained “it was a cold day, but the students were able to learn a lot while working with Cornell Cooperative. Beach grass stops erosion and provides home to many species.”
The restoration group focused on the area surrounding Long Beach’s Memorial Rock. Memorial Rock was chosen for its central location and considering it had been completely washed out from winter storms. To begin the process of bringing back its native plants, the students followed guided instructions and used specific tools provided by CCE Marine Program Habitat Restoration Specialists.
Together the volunteers planted beach grass, high marsh grass, and small shrubs such as beach plum, sea myrtle, and Virginia rose. The species were grown by CCE at Tiana Bayside and were utilized for the Memorial Rock project. Some on-site transplantation of additional grasses from healthy donor areas around the property were also incorporated in the event, according to the CCE’s Back to the Bays website.
Two weeks earlier on March 19, the Environmental Club students met at Long Beach for a beach clean-up. While keeping our beaches clean is equally as important, the restoration event was an impactful lesson for Pierson Environmental Club students on how coastal plants help anchor our beaches in place, prevent erosion, serve as wildlife habitat, filter runoff, and preserve the natural beauty of our landscapes. “The students are doing an excellent job,” said Dr. Schumacher.
Photo caption: Pierson Environmental Club students join Cornell Cooperative Extension for a volunteer event restoring native grass at Long Beach.