On June 10th, 2015, Ms. Rose's County Prep Environmental Science students went to Liberty
State Park for a beach cleanup and quick lesson on horseshoe crabs and their annual
migrations. Due to the low tide that day, the students were able to discover the sea life and
garbage that normally would have been hidden from view. It was shocking to them how much
the area had transformed compared to when they had gone seining in the early fall. The water
had receded drastically allowing them to discover a bed of sea snails, clams, horseshoe crabs,
and much more.
Upon discovering a washed up horseshoe crab that was still alive, the park rangers
helped to move it to the shallow water where it could wet its gills and survive. The students
learned how every year around the time of May and June hundreds of thousands of these
ancient creatures make their way up to the Delaware Bay to breed. In addition to how far they
traveled, the fact that these animals have been around for over 300 million years made the
information even more astonishing.
After a successful day of making the beach a much cleaner place, the students prepared
to make one more stop before heading back to school. They went to see the goats! For those
that may not know, Liberty State Park is currently doing a habitat restoration project, using
goats to clear up both invasive and noninvasive foliage in a closed up area. Instead of using
herbicides or any other unnatural method that could disturb the environment, this is a much
more innovative way to achieve the same goal. In this way the park and the goats have
developed somewhat of a symbiotic relationship. The goats get to eat to their hearts' content,
while the park can start fresh without invasive plants choking the natives out.
Although there were many other trips previous to this one, this one might be
the most memorable for students. Not only did they collect a lot of garbage, but they also picked up
lots of priceless memories and knowledge.
-- Written by Yoonjin Shu