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:
The competition is open to 5th grade students from P.S. 94, P.S. 98 and St.
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:
Collect shells along the shore of Little Neck Bay, then research and describe the creatures from which they came.
Gather examples of plants from the wetlands and describe how they fit into the marsh ecosystem.
Photograph some of the birds found in the wetlands, and write about where and how they live, and how they relate to wetlands health.
Identify some exotic (non-native) species of plants or animals in the area, and explain how they affect the ecosystem.
Research how water gets into Little Neck Bay, where it comes from, and what happens to it on the way.
Research (or test) the water quality in the Douglaston/Little Neck area -- is it good or bad? Why?
Photograph and learn about the 13-acre wetlands restoration project that was carried out northwest of the Douglaston railroad station. Why was it ecologically necessary? Why was it legally required? How was it done? Was it successful?
Explain what happens when more and more of the watershed area is paved over.
Explain why groundwater is important, how it can become contaminated and how it can be cleaned up.
Collect representative samples of "floatable" plastics washed up on our area shoreline. How does it get there? Explain the connection between street litter and beach garbage.
cleanup of an ecologically sensitive area, such as a stretch of shoreline, a
pond or wooded upland. How much litter and garbage was found in the area? How
did it get there? After the cleanup, how long did it stay clean?
* Aurora Gareiss was not only a dedicated and effective citizen activist, she was also an accomplished painter. Artistic projects which focus on the aesthetic qualities of our wetlands areas (e.g., a painting or a photography display) are also welcome, but should be accompanied by written work relating the images to the theme of wetlands conservation.
* Projects should be mounted on standard 3-panel science display boards. Projects may include 3-dimensional displays, attachments, photos, models, etc. Videos are also acceptable.
* Projects must include, clearly printed on the back of the display board only, the student's name, school and class number. Projects become the property of UCPC; however, inclusion of student's address and home telephone number will facilitate return of the project after it has been displayed.
* 5th Grade Teachers in each of our three area schools are encouraged to use this competition as an opportunity to teach their classes about wetlands ecology, and the vital importance of wetlands to a healthy ecosystem. UCPC can help with curriculum materials, guest speakers and/or additional project ideas. Information is also available on our website: www.LittleNeck.net/udallscove/
Past Contest Winners:
PS-98: Hallie Krigsman; Steve Han; Chris Gallagher
St. Anastasia: Steve Cordova, Gia Russo, Alex Schirling
PS-94: First Place: Olivia Perdoch; Second Place: Alas Jackson; Third Place: Anthony Panuccio.
PS-98: First Place: Alanna Sobel; Second Place: Kayla Barry; Third Place: Chris Siver; Honorable Mention: Lauren Ottolich.
St. Anastasia: First Place: Cara Marino; Second Place: Ryan Furlong; Third Place: Andrew Haverlin; Honorable Mention: Katie Klaric.
PS-94: First Place: Christine Hanley, Oil Spills yuk!; Second Place: Nicole Salloum, Worms; Third Place: Jasmin Danialian, Spiders.
PS-98: First Place: Stephen Barry, Wetlands & Pollution; Second Place: Daniel Boccio, Ospreys in Udalls Cove; Third Place: Lauren Vergara, Wetlands Birds.
St. Anastasia: First Place: Hillary Soletic, Wonderful Wetlands; Second Place: Amanda Pelligrino, Udalls Food Chain; Third Place: Erica Morelli, Udalls Cove Birds.
PS-98: First Place: Adam El-Sawaf, Our Neighborhood Bird the Osprey; Second Place: Erica Feige, I Adopted a Piece of Land; Third Place: Matthew Boccio, The Incredible Horseshoe Crab.
St. Anastasia: First Place: Matthew Kane, The Watershed; Second Place: William Karl, There's Still Life in Aurora Pond; Third Place: Kane Derby, Erosion in the Wetlands; Honorable Mention: Kevin Gallagher, Keeping our Wetlands Clean; and Krista Marino, Why the Preservation of Udalls Cove is Important.
PS-94: 1st Place: Nick Kunkel, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!; 2nd Place: Erica Chen, Teaching Kindergartners how to Recyle; 3rd Place: Amanda Lee, Clean Streets Means Clean Beaches; Honorable Mention: Samantha Hanley, Worm The Friend of the Earth
PS-98: 1st Place, Francesca Arcidiacono, Recovering Raptor The Osprey; 2nd Place: Hugh Mo, Testing Water Quality in Little Neck Bay, Udalls Cove, and Wetlands; 3rd Place: Charlotte Martin, Laws Protect Our Environment; Honorable Mention: Rebecca Chu, Why Couldn't the Duckies Go Home? and Nick Saffran, Cleaning Up the Cove
St. Anastasia: 1st Place, Jonathan Amendola, Flora The Ecosystem's Multi-Tasker; 2nd Place: Colleen O'Brien, The Litter Pollution of Udalls Cove and the Wooded Upland Ravine; 3rd Place: Janna Kramer; Udalls Park Preserve A Four-Part Project; Honorable Mention: Mary Anne Barone, Why Are Wetlands So Important?
PS-94: First Place: Lucia Agosti, Biodegradation; Second Place: Chris Kunkel, The Function of Wetlands in our Community; Third Place: Tara Taheri, The Importance of the Wetlands; Honorable Mention: Elvie Gassmann, The Effects of an Oil Spill.
PS-98: First Place: Delphina Feige, The Report Cards Are In; Second Place: Kate Goldman, Udalls Cove Park and Wildlife Preserve; Third Place: Sophia Mitropoulos, Pollution.
St. Anastasia: First Place: Scott Stoner, What is a Watershed?; Second Place: Erin Harrington, Non-Point Source Pollution; Third Place: Courtney Campbell, Wetlands Plants & Animals.
PS-94: First Place: Andrew Mitchell, Protecting Our Wetlands; Second Place:Andrew Grothmann, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle; Third Place: Johnny O'Neil, Saving Energy is Cool; Honorable Mention: Sara Stenson, Global Warming.
PS-98: Tied for First Place: Georgia Goldman, Udalls Cove: Acid or Alkaline?; and Mumtaz Jaffer, Udalls Cove and Global Warming ; Third Place: Alexandra LaGrassa, Litter and Clean-ups.
St. Anastasia: First Place: Daniela Fazio, My Neighborhood is a Watershed; Tied for
Second Place:Joseph Chong, The Preservation of Udalls Cove and Emily Racanelli, Water Testing; Honorable Mention: Sophia Huber, Udalls Cove: Little Neck/Douglaston's Own Estuary.
PS-98: First Place: Isabella Rudow, The Environment of Udalls Cove Affects the Life Cycle of the Frog;
Second Place: Katherine Bau, Take a Trip Into the Shell Life
St. Anastasia: First Place: Joseph Mattone, What is a Watershed?; Second Place: Thomas Derby, Erosion; Third Place: Jessica Russo, What Goes on the Ground Goes in the Sound.
PS-94: First Place: Maggie Capozzola-Cavota, Endangered Polar Bears; Tied for Second Place: Sean Kim, Anax Junius � Dragonfly, and Sunjay Lee, Water Pollution; Honorable Mention: Summer Cody, How Pollution Affects Sea Animals.
PS-98: [Contestants work in teams of four students] First Place: Plant Life,
Christopher Fantakos, Kierstyn Lau, Charlie Maisano, Sophia Poon; Second
Place: Wetlands For All Seasons, Jack Brusco, Anna Chang, A.J. McAdam,
Sarah Wan; Third Place: Water Pollution, Karina Getz, Justin Grill,
Nicholas Malandrakis, Andrea Telemaque.
St. Anastasia: First Place: Erica Cooper, Wide Angles on Udalls Cove; Second Place: Rosemary Wolf, Groundwater's Three Dimensions; Third Place: Manny Ritoe, Little Neck Bay Shells
PS-94: First Place: Marina Aweeda, Water Pollution; Second Place: Sarah Son, Oil Spills; Third Place: Talia Taheri, Wetlands; Hon. Mention: Tania Taheri, The Importance of Bees
Last modified: 11/29/15