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Pleasure Beach Training

Posted on Jul 6, 2015

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History and Audubon Connecticut teamed up to instruct and ready our new WildLife Guards Crew Leaders, Alivia Sheffield and Emily Allen, from June 22 through June 26 in preparation for our WildLife Guards (WLG) program, which trains, mentors, and employs ten local high schools students. This is RTPI’s first year participating in the very successful education and outreach program.

Pleasure Beach Bridgeport June 22 2015-0608

A welcome notice at the boardwalk to the beach after docking at Pleasure Beach

Teaching the teachers is a very important task, especially when they and their students will be reaching tens of thousands of people this summer!

Pleasure Beach Bridgeport June 22 2015-0616

The City of Bridgeport, Connecticut with the Long Island Sound ferry in the background and a map of the barrier beach in the foreground

The students and our Crew Leaders monitor nesting birds and engage visitors, families, and friends about Bridgeport, Connecticut’s Pleasure Beach and its wildlife for six hours a day, five days each week.

Pleasure Beach Bridgeport June 22 2015-0619

Bridgeport’s water taxi which ferries beachgoers to and from the mainland making for a very organized trip with a controlled number of people at the rich habitat of the sensitive beach

The WLGs started their work last week, and were busy all weekend with beachgoers and a clean-up and trail creation day which I will write more on soon.

Pleasure Beach Bridgeport June 22 2015-0621

Solar powered trash and recycling receptacles!

Audubon Connecticut Important Bird Area Program Coordinator Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe takes the lead in preparing the Crew Leaders for their new tasks. The next few photos show our first trip out to Pleasure Beach with them.

Pleasure Beach Bridgeport June 22 2015-0626

Audubon Connecticut Important Bird Area Program Coordinator Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe and WLG Crew Leaders Alivia Sheffield and Emily Allen

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One of many educational and informative signs put up by the City of Bridgeport, CT DEEP and Audubon Connecticut

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Corrie discussing logistics, birds, outreach, plants, insects and much more

They have already immersed themselves in the special flora and fauna that inhabit this barrier beach, learning about the often imperiled or uncommon species living or migrating through the area. While birds like the federally threatened Piping Plover are our main focus, there are other critters people may not expect that depend on this site. Each visit I have made so far has yielded at least one Monarch butterfly sighting, zipping through the milkweed and other vegetation growing in upland areas. These natural pollinator plots are significant as stopover sites for insects traveling the Atlantic coastline north and south each year. I could go on and on about what is there and how important Pleasure Beach truly is, but I will leave it to Alivia, Emily and our WildLife Guards to do most of the teaching to thousands of visitors each week. I will be posting more about some of their efforts in our blog soon!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator