Marine Nature Study Area
"Designed to provide education, research, preservation, management practices, and to enrich community life"
The Marine Nature Study Area (MNSA) is a 52-acre preserve that opened on Earth Day, April 1970, and is devoted to environmental education and natural history in Oceanside NY. MNSA is visited by thousands of visitors each year. Managed by the Town of Hempstead to complement the outdoor features, there is an interpretive center that contains tanks with live specimens of marine life from the area and informative displays, which will be replaced by a new building in 2022.
MNSA differs from most other community undertakings in that the design provides for education, research preservation and management practices. Objectives of such an area program include: an outdoor laboratory for elementary and secondary schools, salt marsh ecology, marine conservation practices, earth science, marine biology, and nature study. The program provides opportunity for research in marsh ecology and management to local college students and opportunity for art and photographic studies.
The MSNA salt marsh is bordered on the south by Middle Bay, on the west by Bedell Creek, on the east by an unnamed tidal watercourse, and on the north by developed home sites. An additional tidal creek cuts the area nearly in half, flowing from Bedell Creek to the easterly unnamed watercourse. Initially, the two tidal watercourses were connected by a shallow canal to provide circulation of salt water through the area. Excavated material was utilized to create an earthen walkway along this canal. A two acre tidal pond was also created at the southerly side of the marsh.
The area has seven designated observation and study sites equipped with visual aides. Elevated board walkways have been constructed to provide access from the "Salt Marsh Ecosystem Site" to the "Marine Algae Site" and to the "Dune Community".