The Bayport Junior Civic Association discussed fundraising, environmental cleanups and board membership at its second annual meeting on Tuesday, March 16.
During the Junior Civic’s last meeting, it was discussed that they would have a March Madness fundraiser where participants could buy brackets from March 14 through March 18 at $10 a bracket. The winner would win half of the earnings and the rest would go towards the Junior Civic’s scholarship fund.
A carwash fundraiser, community cleanups and letters to landlords regarding drug activity on their premises were also discussed from previous meetings. Junior Civic advisor Janet Draffin said it was difficult to obtain contact information for landlords amid that process.
The main point of discussion at the meeting was Dr. James Bertsch’s pre-recorded presentation on an initiative from Save The Great South Bay Inc. Bertsch, the nonprofit’s Creek Defender for Sayville, said that Creek Defenders are responsible for keeping pollution from entering into the bay.
“By cleaning out the creeks, that’s how we clean the Great South Bay,” Bertsch said.
A cleanup of San Souci (Camp Edey) is scheduled for April 17. San Souci is the creek that separates Sayville and Bayport.
Bertsch spoke of a bygone era where the bay “produced 75 percent of the nation’s clams,” adding that he had friends miss out on sports opportunities over the summer because of how lucrative the clamming business was on Long Island.
Another initiative Bertsch spoke about was the “day in the life,” a method of collecting data on bodies of water to determine the phosphate and nitrate levels. Bertsch said that if the tests yield a certain amount of these toxins, the county government will be able to step in and take measures to rectify. This testing started in Pine Barrens and Brookhaven National Laboratory, and is also utilized by Suffolk County Water Authority.
While Bertsch notes that San Souci is thankfully a fairly clean creek area, it is still important to be vigilant of human waste accumulating.
Student members of the Junior Civic expressed enthusiasm and concern, as well as inquiries to other community cleanups they could participate in in the future.
“The Great South Bay is really polluted,” said Draffin. “The one thing that hit me when I learned about all the pollution is all the tides: brown tide, green tide, red tide – and a lot of these things will kill you.”
Draffin later stressed that the pollution of the Great South Bay takes away jobs, food, and recreation from Long Islanders.
The meeting ended with discussion about the majority of the current board of the Junior Civic slated to leave in August.
Draffin recalled that their first year of existence was similar and that their second year was a bit of a rebuilding time for the organization.
Nominations for the board are made in May with a vote in June, followed by a meeting at the Bayport Aerodrome in July, and August off.
Draffin announced she would be fully vaccinated soon and for the next meeting on April 3, would be able to hold it in person at the Bayport Methodist Church. “Zoom isn’t as effective,” said Draffin. “It’s better when we’re all together and interacting.”