Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino joined with Audubon New York and a group of young nature lovers to proudly proclaim, “Hempstead Town is for the birds!” The township and the Society worked with local students to place kid-crafted billboards along sand dunes where the protected Piping Plover nest and fledge their young. The signs alert beachgoers to avoid the plovers’ natural habitat. “Flocking” with the Supervisor at the event were Kaley Donovan of Audubon New York, Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilmen Anthony D’Esposito and Dennis Dunne, Sr. and Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad, along with students from the Brandeis School.
“The ability of the Piping Plover to survive is largely dependent on the actions of human beings who visit their beachside habitats,” said Santino. “Thankfully, the Town of Hempstead, Audubon New York and students from the Brandeis School are taking action to safeguard this federally protected bird and make sure that people know to share the beach with these feathered shorebirds.”
Brandeis students in the fourth grade competed in a poster contest sponsored by the Town of Hempstead and Audubon New York. The winning posters, which were selected by Audubon New York, were enlarged and converted by the Town of Hempstead into weatherproof billboards that are being placed along beachside sand dunes.
“Partnering with Audubon New York and area students, we are helping to preserve endangered birds,” said Goosby. “This is a lesson for students and a victory for shorebirds.”
“By placing these kid-made signs on our beaches, we are reminding beachgoers to share the planet with other living creatures,” stated Dunne. “This is a great way to educate people and protect a protected species of bird.”
The beaches of Hempstead Town, and across New York and New Jersey are key nesting sites for species of concern, including the Common 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.
“We are tremendously proud of these students for using their artwork to inspire beachgoers to ‘Share the Shore’ with nesting birds,” said Audubon New York Director of Bird Conservation Jillian Liner. “New York’s beaches are a critical community asset and we encourage everyone to learn more about the needs of beach-nesting birds so we can all give them the space they need to safely and successfully fledge their young.”
“I am impressed with the young students of the Brandeis School for being so committed to the health of our planet and the birds who inhabit our barrier beach coastline,” stated D’Esposito. “Their efforts will pay dividends for nature lovers and anyone who cares about ecology.”
“Thank you to Audubon New York and the students of the Brandeis School for working hard to protect Piping Plovers in our township,” concluded Santino. “Your billboard posters will remain on our beaches throughout the summer beach season so that beachgoers and these protect birds can co-exist.”