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ANNUAL AURORA GAREISS AWARDS FOR WETLANDS CONSERVATION

The Udalls Cove Preservation Committee (UCPC) was founded in 1969 by Douglaston resident Aurora Gareiss. Ms. Gareiss became deeply concerned about the rapid loss of valuable wetlands and associated upland watershed areas in northeastern Queens and throughout the country.

By the 1960's, fast-spreading development had already destroyed hundreds of acres of wetlands and wooded uplands in our area, and there were many proposals for further development. The wetlands between Douglaston and Little Neck, an area known as Udalls Cove, were to be filled in for a golf course. In addition, the wetlands between Douglaston and Bayside were to be filled in, and the wooded upland Ravine between Douglaston and Little Neck was to be developed with new houses and businesses.

Aurora Gareiss and UCPC showed the community and our elected officials that it is essential to preserve and conserve our remaining wetlands and associated upland areas. As a direct result of Mrs. Gareiss' leadership work, the City and State of New York created the Udalls Cove Park and Wildlife Preserve, which extends from Northern Boulevard to Little Neck Bay; and also extended Alley Pond Park north of Northern Boulevard to the Bay. These two parks are the crown jewels of our community.

Ms. Gareiss died in early 2000. In the Fall of that year, the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee announced the establishment of the Annual Aurora Gareiss Awards for Wetlands Conservation. This competitive awards program is open to all 5th grade students from our three area elementary schools: P.S. 94, P.S. 98 and St. Anastasia. The awards recognize the best projects on the subject of wetlands science or conservation. The nature of eligible projects is limited only by the students' creativity.

The deadline for each year's contest is provided to the schools in the early Fall.  See below for rules and other details.

The many superb projects submitted by the promising fifth graders of our neighborhood during the past several years have displayed a variety of different themes. We have had projects describing the species of birds that use our local wetlands, with photographs and descriptions of the food they eat and the habitat they need; collections of shells found along our shoreline and descriptions of the animals that inhabit them; descriptions of the kinds of threats from pollution that confront our marsh and marine ecosystems, and discussions of how those threats can be addressed; and descriptions of how damaged wetlands can be restored. Several fifth grade students at PS-94 taught a lower graded class (kindergarten or first grade) about their chosen subject; their project submission included their lesson objective and a fairly detailed lesson plan. In each case, the young teachers not only presented factual information, but also had the students carry out an appropriate, creative activity to illustrate or reinforce their lesson objective.

In the view of the UCPC members who participated in judging the projects, every one of the participating students  along with their teachers and schools  have been winners in this annual competition. And all of us will be winners as these fine young people grow up with a stronger understanding of the importance of ecological balance and ecosystem protection. However, each year we have to select from among all the wonderful presentations those projects that stand out in terms of the criteria established for the competition: creativity, relevance to the theme of wetlands science and conservation, quality of the research, and attractiveness and quality of the overall presentation. We thank all the participants for their efforts, and congratulate the winners!

Rules and Instructions for the Annual Awards Program:

Eligibility: The competition is open to 5th grade students from P.S. 94, P.S. 98 and St. Anastasia.

Deadline: The deadline for each year's contest is provided to the schools in early Fall.. A UCPC representative will arrange in advance to pick up the projects from your school that afternoon at a mutually convenient time.

Awards: At least one, and up to three awards per school (depending on the level of participation), will be presented every year. Awards will be U.S. Savings Bonds with values of $200, $100 and $50. Winners will be announced at UCPC's Annual Meeting and wetlands cleanup, held in April or early May. Awards will be presented soon thereafter.

Judging: Projects will be judged by a panel of UCPC members. Projects will be judged on creativity, relevance to the theme of wetlands science and conservation, quality of research, and attractiveness and quality of the overall presentation.

Project Guidelines: The nature of the projects that can be submitted is limited only by the students' creativity. Following are a few examples of the kinds of projects that students may submit:

 


Last modified: 11/29/15  

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