Santino and Kids: "Beaches are for the Birds," Student Signs to Protect Oceanfront Bird Sanctuaries

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino, Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and a group of local elementary school students today declared that “Beaches are for the Birds,” as they teamed with Audubon New York at Lido Beach Town Park to urge residents to share the beautiful shoreline with our feathered friends.

The students, fourth graders from Drexel Avenue Elementary School in Westbury, are helping Hempstead Town in its efforts to protect the oceanfront bird sanctuaries that inhabit the beaches, which were damaged by Superstorm Sandy over three years ago.

“Safeguarding the nesting areas for our birds that call our beaches home is vital to their survival and their ability to thrive here,” Santino said. “Thanks to these talented students, we are able to remind the public to share the beach with our feathered friends.”

The “Be a Good Egg” poster contest, co-sponsored by the Town of Hempstead, Audubon New York and the Drexel Avenue Elementary School, has resulted in 14 educational signs that illustrate the theme “protect our feathered friends.” The winning signs will be displayed at Town of Hempstead beaches along the dunes and other bird habitat areas throughout the summer.

“We are so proud of our For The Birds! students for helping us inspire visitors and residents alike to “Share the Shore” with beach nesting birds,” said Audubon New York Executive Director Erin Crotty. “New York’s coasts are an invaluable resource to communities, visitors, and birds and we encourage beach-going visitors to recreate while allowing these birds the room they need to successfully fledge their young.”

“Protecting our shoreline bird habitats is important, and I thank these talented students for their help in furthering our efforts,” King Sweeney said. “Thank you to the students and the Audubon Society for this key educational and environmental initiative,” D’Esposito added.

The beaches of Hempstead Town, and across New York and New Jersey are key nesting sites for species of concern, including theCommon Tern, Black Skimmer, Piping Plovers, Least Terns and American Oystercatchers. Predators, extreme weather conditions and human disturbance pose serious threats to these birds. This Audubon project is supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.  For more information, visit ny.audubon.org.

“Thanks to the Audubon New York for coordinating this wonderful contest, and to the students and staff at Drexel Avenue Elementary School for their hard work,” Santino said. “Throughout the summer, their public service posters will remain on display for visitors to make them aware that the beach is not only a destination, it is a home for many birds.”