SJC Long Island Celebrates Earth Week

May 02, 2016

Meep the Owl

By David Henne

Earth Week (April 18-22) at SJC Long Island brought a host of eco-conscious organizations, academics and cleanup efforts to our campus — as well as an owl who probably was eco-conscious, though none thought to ask.

Kicking off the week was an Earth Day Celebration on the Danzi Athletic Center lawn. Featuring local businesses and nonprofits, the celebration helped promote green practices to students dropping in during their Common Hour. Also on display, and posing for countless snapchats, was Meep the Owl from The Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays.

Meep taught everyone the value of being ever-conscious of our environment by showcasing his patented 360-degree headspin.

Earth Day Celebration

Kicking off the week was an Earth Day Celebration on the Danzi Athletic Center lawn.

On Wednesday, April 20, Christopher Gobler, Ph.D., visited campus to deliver his lecture: "The State of The Bays — 2016." During his talk, Dr. Gobler addressed the water quality in Long Island's marine and freshwater ecosystems — specifically, the rise of nitrates in Long Island's bays, and the effect Suffolk County's numerous cesspools have on our waters.

Later, inspired by Dr. Gobler’s call to action, several students and faculty volunteered to clean the Great Patchogue Lake. Members of the Biology Club donned galoshes and overalls to wade into the lake’s inlet to dredge man made deposits, debris and downed branches.

Why concentrate on cleaning the lake’s inlet specifically? Mo Singh ‘16, Biology Club president, explains:

"We are clearing out as much as we can of it, including the dead branches,” Singh said. “What that will do is increase the flow of water back to this inlet. And you can think of that as a filter for a fish tank, as it will pick up any garbage along the way and dilute it as it gets to a main body of water.”

Dr. Rountos and Dr. Gobler

Keynote speaker Christopher Gobler, Ph.D., from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (Stony Brook University) and SJC Department of Biology professor Konstantine J. Rountos, Ph.D.

Assisting in the efforts were Biology faculty members Mohammad Afzul Rana, Ph.D., and Konstantine J. Rountos, Ph.D.

"Blocking the inlet means killing the lake," said Dr. Rana. “Why we're picking up all these branches, is so they do not end up in the lake. Whatever is in the middle is a lack of cleanup, so all the branches end up there and block the inlet.”

On Thursday, April 21, Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, spoke about local environmental issues and how to get involved in shaping environmental policy.

Later in the day, SJC’s Sustainability Committee and the Protecting the Environment in Patchogue (PEP) Committee hosted a screening of Bag It, a documentary on plastic bag use. Village of Patchogue Trustee Joseph Keyes attended the event and discussed upcoming policy aimed at reducing single-use plastic bags in the Village of Patchogue.

Closing out the week was the Nature Trail and Organic Garden Cleanup. Volunteers assisted in the maintenance of the College’s nature trail and in preparing the organic garden for spring planting.

"The Sustainability Committee has been promoting Earth Day as a means to educate students and the community about the challenges and opportunities for improving our relationship with the Earth and its inhabitants,” said Kirk Lawrence, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at SJC Long Island. “While we promote sustainbility year round, Earth Week is our largest event on campus and it has continued to grow over the years.”

Lake Cleanup

Students assist in the removing of debris at the inlet of Great Patchogue Lake.

Great job by SJC Long Island volunteers this week who worked to cleanup a portion of @Patchogue Lake. #EarthDay