On the last weekend in April, Stony Brook University students took part in the Southhampton Warner Island Cleanup. Students from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) boarded the RV Peconic, traveled across eastern Shinnecock Bay, disembarked in shallow water, and waded ashore to clean up the beach.
Ten adventurous seniors participated for the first time, along with faculty and staff from the Southampton campus. Plastic, paper, discarded fishing line, ropes, and various forms of trash were removed from the island.
“Our students have a strong environmental ethic and often participate in coastal cleanup events to help protect our marine and coastal wildlife and to improve our coastal environment for all,” said Kurt Bretsch, Semester by the Sea director and SoMAS faculty member.
The group was blessed with clear weather, and the island was teeming with wildlife. They spotted harbor seals, horseshoe crabs, seagulls, and more.
“Traveling to Warner’s Island is especially meaningful for our students since it allows them to annually contribute to the Town of Southampton’s Great East End Clean-Up initiative at a location that is inaccessible to most members of the community and a frequent destination for field trips during our Semester by the Sea program,” said Bretsch.
This eighth year of the annual activity was especially important for the Southampton community as participants remembered Ryan Durie, a beloved fellow student, and friend who passed away this year.
— Tamara Gregorian, Community Relations