January & February 2016
With the completion of five full years, Students Taking Action for Tomorrow’s Environment launched into its sixth year by diving into our now-typical and beloved winter projects in the Avalon Park and Preserve barn. In January, the snow kept us from a few weekends of productivity, but we were delighted to take a first pass at this year’s batch of bee habitat boxes. Made of scrap wood, logs, and bamboo, we chopped, snipped, drilled, and assembled until we began to see little native bee homes coming into form. We increased our goal of final products from last year’s 16 to 22! Our other January task was a grand and important one: planning our organic vegetable and herb garden, Arcadia. Volunteers gathered to discuss the productivity of last year’s garden, improvements that could be made, crop-rotation plans, new plants to be introduced, a planting schedule, companion plantings in the raised beds, and most brilliantly, the concept of beginning to donate the majority of the produce we grow to a local non-denominational food pantry, Island Harvest.
In February, we returned to our efforts collaborating with the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Meadows to make burlap ‘tortillas,’ using their templates to cut circular burlap pieces with 10 holes each to be used later in the year as a medium for weaving and planting eelgrass just off of Long Island shorelines. This work is tough on the fingers, but time flies with a movie on the big screen while we work, and before we know it, there are hundreds of finished burlap circles ready to bag up and bring out east! Work continued on our ‘bee-boxes’ as we kept on track to produce more than ever this winter, getting roof pieces assembled and really starting to see what it was we were making. Hand in hand with the bees go the birds, so we finished the month by creating 10 native eastern bluebird boxes for our local Four Harbors Audubon Society. These will be installed by our volunteers or donated to local parks and preserves to provide habitat for the struggling species, or for other birds, who help control insect populations and delight us with their songs.