Third through 6th grade students were tasked with helping to educate the community on the steps people need to take to protect themselves from tick borne illnesses. Three students emerged winners, while all who participated received “Tick Keys,” a device for removing ticks, with each embossed with “SI” for Shelter Island.
They were donated by Donna Lucente, owner of Tick Key Inc., who was impressed by the community effort after reading a newspaper account of it.
Michelle Martinez, a 4th grader, took the top prize, a $25 gift certificate from Target. In second place was Emily Shepherd, also in the 4th grade, who took home a $15 gift certificate for the Tuck Shop. In third place was Harlie Becker, a 3rd grader, who won a $15 gift certificate from Dunkin’ Donuts.
“Don’t Let a Tick Make You Sick” was the theme of the program that provided the basis for lessons and the resulting posters.
In creating their works, the students were told they could use any materials they chose.
The competition was the brainchild of Deer & Tick Committee member Julia Weisenberg, who leads the education subcommittee. She worked with volunteers from Mashomack Preserve and school officials to help educate students about efforts people need to take to protect themselves from tick bites, knowing that knowledgeable students would carry home the messages to their family members and friends.
Becca Kusa and Cindy Belt from the Nature Conservancy at Mashomack prepared remote lessons for the students and used lifelike props to make the lessons memorable, Ms. Weisenberg said.
Educational material on ticks and tick-borne diseases is on the town website under the Deer & Tick Committee site at shelterislandtown.us/deer-and-tick.