Exhibit Highlights Diversity of Resources at the City’s Lighthouse Point Park

On a wind-whipped afternoon under the aerial salute of a great egret, a great blue heron and a host of curious seagulls, officials from the City of New Haven and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History unveiled an educational exhibit at Lighthouse Point Park showcasing the natural resources of Long Island Sound and the park ecosystem.

On a wind-whipped afternoon under the aerial salute of a great egret, a great blue heron and a host of curious seagulls, officials from the City of New Haven and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History unveiled an educational exhibit at Lighthouse Point Park showcasing the natural resources of Long Island Sound and the park ecosystem.

The exhibit consists of four stand-alone stations. The first traces the geologic history of Long Island Sound from the onset of the Wisconsinan Glacier some 26,000 years ago to the present day. Another gives an overview of Lighthouse Park’s ecology, both marine and terrestrial, and describes the array of creatures living in diverse habitats: forest, tidal marsh, rocky coast, sandy beach and underwater.

Present at the unveiling of the four-station exhibit at Lighthouse Point Park were David Heiser, head of education and outreach at the Peabody Museum; Peabody director Derek Briggs; Brien Pledger and Jim Bacon of Magellan Industries; New Haven park ranger Terry McCool; Bob Levine, director of New Haven Parks, Recreation and Trees; Peabody public relations manager Melanie Brigockas; and New Haven park ranger Dan Barvir (kneeling).

A third station focuses on hawks and other raptors, presenting information on their habits and migratory patterns. Called “Winged Migration,” it is located at one of the best hawk-watching sites in New England. The fourth addresses the effects of human activities on the sound ecosystem with emphasis on how you, the visitor, can help protect it.

As Peabody director Derek Briggs thanked the assembled park rangers, sponsors, and city and museum staff for their work in producing the exhibit, one of the nearby gulls swooped down to pick up a hard-shelled mollusk with his beak, flew over the rocky outcrop and dropped it on the rocks to crack it open — a behavior that is described in the exhibit itself.

“These gulls are quite resourceful foragers,” said Briggs. “That’s why you see so many broken shells along the rocky shoreline.”

Briggs said he hoped the exhibit would enhance visitors’ appreciation of the richness and diversity of the park’s natural resources.

David Heiser, head of education and outreach at the Peabody Museum, wrote the exhibit text with Erika Schielke, a 2009 graduate of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Heiser said the exhibit “gives the park an added sense of importance. When people take pride in a place, they will enjoy it more and want to protect it.”

Funding was provided by the Long Island Sound Study, Connecticut Sea Grant, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the City of New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees. The exhibit panels themselves were manufactured by Fossil Industries, which supplies signs for the National Park Service, and were installed by the City of New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees.

Lighthouse Point Park, located on the eastern point of New Haven Harbor, is open to the public from 7 a.m. to sunset year round. For more information, visit www.cityofnewhaven.com/Parks/ParksInformation/lighthousepoint.asp.

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