Pond Day Participation Removes Invasive Irises

Pond Day Participation Removes Invasive Irises

The high school’s Keep Islip Clean student members celebrated the 12th annual Pond Day experience on May 23 at the Seatuck Environmental Association’s Scully Estate in Islip.

During the event, students assisted Seatuck personnel in the removal of an invasive species of swamp iris originally from Asia. The irises are filling in the property’s wetlands areas and competing with native plants by taking up valuable space and resources. Students removed enough invasive plants to fill an entire dumpster.

Lauren Cottral, a KIC junior commissioner said, “I got dirty, but it was for a great purpose – removing invasive species from Long Island!” 

After the cleanup, students participated in a press conference celebrating World Turtle Day, where legislation for the protection of diamondback terrapins was introduced. Terrapins, an endangered species of aquatic turtle, accidentally get caught in Long Island crab traps as by-catch. Very little is known about their life cycle and habits, but they are essential in controlling snail populations that feed on dune grass, which protects Long Island from erosion during storms. Islip students witnessed the implementation of a new law that requires fisheries to include turtle excluder devices, or TEDs, on their crab pots. 

“I’m already looking forward to next year’s Pond Day,” said junior Ahkayla Davies.