Marine Science Program
John Dewey High School has a great location on a 12-acre property in Coney Island. It is near miles of waterfront property along Coney Island Creek and Jamaica Bay in NY Harbor, an estuary for marine life. For the last 40 years, there has been an active Marine Science Program at John Dewey.
Currently, the course is a two-credit laboratory science elective. The students do hands-on labs with live and preserved marine life in an aquarium enriched classroom and a brand new laboratory. They are offered many unique educational and career opportunities through the course. The marine biology program works with many agencies including; DEC, EPA, NY Aquarium, NYC Parks, AMNH, NYSMEA, Trout in the Classroom, Cultural Research Divers, Cold Springs Harbor Hatchery, Brooklyn College, Pratt College, KBCC, Beneath the Seas and Friends of Kaiser Park.
Students are involved in various activities and trips throughout the year. Trips include the AMNH, NY Aquarium, KBCC, Bronx Zoo, and Marine Career Exhibition. Students are encouraged to apply for internships at the NY Aquarium, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Prospect Park Zoo and AMNH. JDHS students recently went aboard the sailboat Pioneer Schooner at the new waterfront eco dock in Bay Ridge. They have been working with NY Harbor Foundation are setting up an oyster reef community for which data is to be collected over a two year period. The marine biology club maintains about 12 fish tanks, turtles and lizards in the aquarium classroom. The club is also raising trout eggs to be released as small fish in the spring. Cold Spring Hatchery does an egg stripping demonstration showing the process of fertilization to the students first hand. With the support of the administration, together with the Culinary Department we are at the process of setting up a tank to raise tilapia.
Our students love Kaiser Park, a waterfront jewel in Coney Island. For this reason, we organize at least two coastal clean ups yearly, we teach marine environmental education and offer opportunities to earn community service. We study horseshoe crabs, collect invasive crab species, look at marine life, and study water quality. This all creates a sense of belonging and pride in serving our community and the environment around us.
Most importantly, students are required to complete a marine careers project, which inspires them to consider different college and career opportunities. Many alumni have said, that this has been the most educational, fun and enriching class they ever experienced. #
Lane Rosen is the assistant principal at the John Dewey High School in Brooklyn.