The Science of Nature Observation

Junior Innovation Lab @Ross teacher Kim Borsack, her students, and their families gathered at Morton National Wildlife Refuge in Sag Harbor on May 18 to participate in a fundraiser and information-gathering event in support of a local nature conservationist organization. The Group for the East End invited people from all over the South and North Forks of Long Island to join in its 18th Annual Fauna-thon Fundraiser. Each group explored a different site in Southold, Riverhead, Southampton, East Hampton, and Shelter Island, recording every instance of wildlife they encountered, and then sent their location and species list to Steve Biasetti, the Group’s Director of Environmental Education.

Ross students chose to join a handful of other local nature enthusiasts at Morton, and with Steve as their guide, they hiked the trail through the wooded area close to the bay beach. A generous participant shared seed with the young birders, and they each experienced the thrill of nuthatches and chickadees perching on their hands to select choice morsels before flying off to nearby branches.

The species the group encountered during the 90-minute hike also included black-capped chickadees, catbirds, white-tailed deer, yellow warblers, blue jays, chipmunks, red-winged blackbirds, ospreys, red-eared sliders (turtles), a bullfrog, and even a red-tailed hawk.

Steve will compile the results and release a report of the wildlife varieties found during this annual snapshot in the next few weeks. Last year, 12 teams in 27 search areas recorded 208 species; the students eagerly await the results of this year’s hunt.