Sometimes people forget that fish breathe with gills and turtles lay eggs. Thanks to a National Grid Foundation Scholarship Program, nearly 600 Long Island school children are now well prepared to remember this and much more about the Island’s fragile aquatic eco-system. “We learned that we need to take care of the environment, and tips on how we can do it,” said Autumn Krill who attends the Gardiner Manor School in Bay Shore. Her fourth grade class was one of several classes from underserved, diverse school districts throughout Long Island that were able to participate in the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium’s environmental education programs through generous funding from the National Grid Foundation Scholarship Program. For several weeks during the school year students from School Districts such as Brentwood, Bayshore and Hempstead, participated in the Hatchery’s innovative hands-on environmental programs that not only engaged their interest but also enabled them to understand the importance of the role we all play towards the protection of our natural resources.
“Owing to the National Grid Foundation Scholarship Program, we are able to increase our reach into the public school systems,” said Steven DeSimone, Hatchery Director. ”As a result, more and more young people are learning about their local and global environment as well as becoming prepared to act as future decision makers that can really make a difference,” he said.
The Hatchery, which after 99 years of operation as a State facility, opened as a private non-profit educational institution in 1982. Its visitors can tour two aquarium buildings which house many species of freshwater fish, aquatic reptiles and amphibians, all native to New York. There are six outdoor ponds where brook and rainbow trout are raised and sold to enthusiasts who use them to stock their ponds. In addition to the trout ponds, the Hatchery also maintains a warm water fish pond and a turtle pond. Catch & Keep Trout Fishing is a popular addition to Hatchery activities. The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium is open year round, seven days a week, from 10:00 to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June, July and August, open until 6: 00 p.m.