The deterioration of our planet is reversible! When you participate in the Group’s planting and habitat restoration projects you learn about the fragile balance in our natural environment and how to restore balance. Each year, Group for the East End involves hundreds of school children and community volunteers in native planting & habitat restoration projects on the South Fork, North Fork, Shelter Island, Riverhead, Hampton Bays and Westhampton.
To find out how your school or community group can participate, or to nominate a worthy East End location, please contact Anita Wright at 631-765-6450, ext. 206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Group orchestrated an expansive dune restoration project at Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays. After contacting the Southampton Town’s Parks and Recreation Department, we learned the dunes at Tiana Beach were severely damaged by an early winter storm. The Parks Department replaced 6,600 cubic feet of sand in March, and in two hours on a sunny afternoon, 50 volunteers (most were Southampton High School students from Greg Metzger’s science class) planted 8,000 plugs of beach grass, helping to anchor the sand and restore the dune.
Students from Springs School Project M.O.S.T. helped with an ongoing project to eliminate invasive Japanese Knotweed from the nature preserve at Louse Point, East Hampton. Ready with gloves and shovels, they learned first hand that knotweed develops a deep and tough taproot, making it very hard to dig up. After an hour of diligent digging and pulling, students discussed (over cookies) the problems invasive plants can cause and the importance of using native plants in our yards and gardens.
The Group organized a habitat restoration project with financial support from the Peconic Estuary Program, approval from the Town of Riverhead, and most importantly hands on help from Ms. White’s 3rd grade class at Aquebogue Elementary School. The students walked down to Meetinghouse Creek Park right on the bay, where we discussed the importance of native plants and how plants can help provide a buffer between runoff from roadways (and the pollution it might contain) and our precious local bays. The students and parent volunteers then dug right in, planting ~90 native plants in clusters throughout the waterfront park, while keeping an eye out for interesting insects and discussing how our efforts could help a variety of wildlife.
The Group worked with local community gardeners and two Greenport girl scout troops to plant a variety of native beach plants, including beach grass, bayberry, seaside goldenrod, and beach plum. The girls learned about the Peconic Estuary, erosion, and dune habitat, while digging in and helping to make a difference in their local community. The beach near 5th Street Park (just a short walk from the school) never looked better and is providing more native habitat and erosion control now than it has in a long time.