Marine Nature Study Area

Photos by Michael Farina

Located on Slice Drive in Oceanside is a 52-acre preserve devoted to environmental education and natural history. The Marine Nature Study Area is divided into eight instruction sites, each of which deals with a different aspect of the marine or estuarine environment. At each site, visual aides have been installed that describe particular topics. Subjects covered include the tides, Long Island's glacial geology, barrier beach and estuarine formations, ecology of the estuary, micro and macro algae, bird life and migration, the bay community, and barrier beach fauna and flora.

To compliment the outdoor features, there is an interpretive center and an area which contains tanks with live specimens of marine life and displays on pertinent subjects.

The Study Area is a popular site for individuals and families seeking a quiet and peaceful outdoor experience and it is well used by dedicated bird watchers. To date, a total of 216 bird species have been observed and recorded in the area.

The Marine Nature Study Area is staffed by personnel trained in biology and ecology who are thoroughly familiar with the estuarine ecosystem and with the environmental issues of the times. They conduct guided tours for organized groups and are available to assist visitors who seek information about the fauna and flora of the area.

Following a damaging blow from Hurricane Sandy, an effort to refurbish the preserve is underway utilizing in-house staff from the Department of Conservation and Waterways. To date, the town has rebuilt a boardwalk and classroom, replaced display areas, and restored fly boxes, fencing, trails and bridges.