Reserve building new classroom on Prudence

Construction is underway on a new classroom for the Narragansett Bay Research Reserve on Prudence Island. Construction is underway on a new classroom for the Narragansett Bay Research Reserve on Prudence Island.

Construction is underway on a new classroom for the Narragansett Bay Research Reserve on Prudence Island.

Construction is underway on a new classroom for the Narragansett Bay Research Reserve on Prudence Island.

PRUDENCE ISLAND —  The Narragansett Bay Research Reserve (NBRR), which works to protect the bay’s estuarine ecosystems, is building a new classroom adjacent to its headquarters up the road from the “T Wharf” on the south end of Prudence Island.

“Basically we need more classroom space for more of our programs. We don’t really have a dedicated classroom space. This will give us more capacity,” said Bob Stankelis, Reserve manager.

The Reserve protects and manages Prudence, Patience, Hope and Dyer island — about 4,400 acres of land and water overall. The Reserve manages about 63 percent of Prudence Island, where it’s located.

A big part of the NBRR’s efforts is focused on education. The new 700-square-foot, single-room classroom and covered pavilion was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and will provide space to allow the Reserve to offer more in-depth education and training programs.

“We’re hoping we can offer more. We’d like to get more college classes out, perhaps some field work on the island,” said Mr. Stankelis.

The Estuary Education Shed (“Ed Shed”) at T-Wharf will be opening soon, the the Reserve is putting the final touches on the tanks and other exhibits.

The NBRR recently released its list of events happening this summer season, and visits can expect something new for the Prudence Island Recreation Day 2013, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at the T Wharf.

Participants will be able to pull a seine net, visit the aquarium and touch tank, enjoy a nature hike, tour the research laboratories and take the Jr. Marine Biologist Challenge.

“We’re going this in partnership with the Great Outdoor Pursuit. We’ve having some new things,” he said, adding that there will be geocaching, bird tours and more.

In the Rhode Island Great Outdoors Pursuit, teams decode clues and participate in fun activities and challenges for prizes.

On Aug. 18 the Reserve has scheduled a sustainable fishing contest and there will be a “Teachers on the Estuary Workshop” from Aug. 1 to 4.

“We’re full up on all kinds of different programs,” said Mr. Stankelis.

For more information about NBRR, including how to volunteer, visit www.nbnerr.org or contact Maureen Dewire, education coordinator, at maureen@nbnerr.org or 683-1478.

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