Students work to create osprey nest platforms

Among the advantages of a small school are the many opportunities to become involved in a wide range of activities. But the trade-off on Shelter Island is every student is expected to participate in multiple activities — academic work, of course, but also community service, sports and membership in various clubs.

When they complete their schooling here, their activities results in resumes that demonstrate great achievements, making them good candidates for whatever their future holds.

Students in a community service learning class led by teachers Lynne Colligan and Chris Conrardy have been building osprey nest platforms where the birds can make a home for years to come. Anyone familiar with ospreys knows the birds tend to return to the same place every year.

The student volunteers have been working with Kristina Lange and Aaron Virgin from the Group for the East End, who have provided the expertise, while Riverhead Building Supply donated wood and fencing supplies to make the platforms, Ms. Colligan said.

As a technology teacher, Mr. Conrardy was able to impart his knowledge to the students in building 10 nest platforms. 

Two were erected on sites on Menhaden Lane and Hiberry Lane last week, Ms. Colligan said. When it comes to community service, Mr. Conrardy knows more than a thing or two about its importance, having done his own share as a former Eagle Scout, Ms. Colligan said. He had prior experience in building platforms and raising them so ospreys would have the necessary space to create nests.

Shelter Island High School students raising a platform for ospreys to build nests when they return to the Island next month. (Eleanor P. Labrozzi photo)

Seniors Nick Labrozzi, Carlos Morales, Walter Richards and Kal Lewis assisted in building the platforms and erecting them on poles made from locust wood harvested by the staff of Mashomack Preserve. 

Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D., joined the students in putting up the poles that Shelter Island Highway Department workers had transported from Mashomack, Ms. Colligan said.

Remaining platforms will be erected at sites around the Island, including three at Mashomack, she said.

The aim is to provide space for those ospreys new to the Island and those whose previous homes may have been destroyed by weather or other forces such as vehicle crashes.

Ms. Colligan called it “a wonderful collaboration for a great cause.”