Zimmer Club Youth Conservation Program of Staten Island, Inc.

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HISTORY & PROGRAMS

Richmond County, a/k/a Staten Island, is the southernmost County of New York State.  It is also, one of the five boroughs that make up New York City.  When you mention New York City everyone thinks of an urban area.  Not so on Staten Island.  It is unique and what its name indicates, an Island, eight miles wide and fourteen miles long, positioned closer in mileage to New Jersey than New York.  But most of all it is a natures paradise.  It is called the County or Borough of Parks, containing over 14,000 acres of passive and active parkland.  The passive parkland is home to many of natures’ creatures, its Bluebelt and Greenbelt contains many ponds, lakes, streams actuaries, and wetlands.  Its forestry contains many endangered species of foliage, plant and tree, and animal life; its saltwater marshes is home to many water foul and crabs and its beaches, which surround the island make fishing, boating, and just sunbathing a call to nature.

 

Many Conservation Clubs cater to their adult membership and do not focus on the youth.  Children spend so much time watching TV and playing video games they lose touch with nature and their environment.  With this in mind, the Zimmer Club Youth Conservation Program of Staten Island, Inc. was established on September 29, 2005.  Its founders sought to awaken their interest and address the need of the environment through conservation and the protection of our wildlife.  The Zimmer Club Youth Conservation Program of Staten Island, Inc. (ZCY) is a not-for-profit, 501(c) 3 organization and registered with the New York State Attorney General’s Office. 

 

We named our organization after a long established Staten Island sportsman club, the “Andrew E. Zimmer Fish and Game Protective Association” known to most Staten Islanders as the “Zimmer Club” (ZC) which was founded in 1928.  Our founders are among its members.  This Club allows us to hold classes at their clubhouses and grounds located at 4411 Arthur Kill Road, Staten Island, N.Y. 10309 in the Charleston section of Staten Island.  Our programs and instruction are FREE.   

Our annual “Youth Conservation Course”:  Classes are held every year for 10 weeks, January thru March, which focus on Wildlife Conservation and Parks.  The course topics include Camping, Marksmanship, Compass & Map reading, First Aid, Hunting, Fishing, Bluebelt & Harbor Estuary Programs, Live Animal demonstrations, Etc., described more fully below.  They culminate with an Awards Luncheon where Certificates & Trophies are given based on participation, knowledge of the subject matter and proficiency during the various competitions.   We award six (6) scholarships to camp.  Boys and girls ages 12-14 are eligible for a one-week stay at NYS DEC camp DeBruce.   The scholarship is an all expenses paid, except however, parents are responsible for transportation to and from the camp.  

A NYS DEC Police Officer, a NYS DEC Park Ranger and a member of the NYC Department of Parks give lectures and demonstrations.  They discuss their jobs, the parks and its wild life.  A video is shown about conservation and pollution. 

 

Staten Island Charter Boat Captains and Professional anglers assist in the instruction and will give explanations of which bait and fishing poles to use for catch various types of fish.  All types of fishing equipment; rods, reels, bait and tackle are made available to us and is displayed for fresh water, salt water and fly-fishing. 

 

We also hold outdoor classes on their grounds where camping instruction is given, the equipment you would need to survive in the outdoors the different types of tents available.  How to choose a tent site and what type of fire to build?   They also cover how to use a compass and read a map. 

 

The ZC along with other organizations such as the “Colonial Gun Club” and the “Sportsman Club of Staten Island” allow us use of their facilities and give the children instruction in Archery and Marksmanship.  They also offer their expertise in demonstrating the different types of bows and arrows that are available.  They demonstrate their use and what types of safety measures should be used.  There is also a marksmanship day where we take students to their outdoor range where the children are taught, with a one on one coach, how to properly handle a shotgun, fire a 22 rifle.  Students compete for best score and trophies are awarded.

 

Members of the Staten Island Volunteer Ambulance corps assists us by instructing the children in a first aid course given by certified EMTs and Paramedics, teaching emergency first aid and general care for cuts and burns.

 

Trips are taken to various Staten Island Parks where Environmental Conservation can be seen up close.  DEC officer’s and/or a Parks Ranger supplement our instructors and they discuss their jobs, the parks and its wild life.  Hiking and Videos are shown about conservation and pollution.

 

Trips are taken to local horse stables where we introduce the children to live animals.  Live “Birds of Prey” are brought in by the “Theodore Roosevelt Bird Sanctuary” they include Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, and Owls.  Farm & Domestic animals are displayed by the “Wildlife on Farms in the North East United States Exhibit.”  The birds and farm & domestic animals are displayed one at a time while a handler talks about each one. 

 Blue Belt Management and Harbor Estuary Programs:  Pond life is examined with an emphasis on natural water run offs, wildlife, flora, and fauna and how they related to the environment and impact our daily lives.   We emphasize that the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary ecosystem as a living environmental and social resource.  We instruct youths in it restoration and preservation program.  Water purification is demonstrated and students design an ideal estuary ecosystem.  Flora & Fauna are sought out and identified during nature walks after classroom orientation.

Every spring & fall, a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) certified “Hunter Safety Course” for both Bow & Gun permits.  NYS law requires attending such a course in order to qualify for a Hunting License in NYS.  Contact Bigbuck956@aol.com for this year’s time and dates.  We also host seminars in both hunting and fishing to inform Sportsman of modification of laws, equipment and techniques.

 

FREE Children’s Tournaments are held at various locations throughout the island where participants receive souvenirs and trophies.   They are:  Two (2) Huck Finn Fishing contests at different City Parks; one (1) William Tell Bow & Arrow contest; and one (1) Daniel Boon turkey shoot. 

 

In summary, we educate the youth of today thru Camps & Training Sessions as follows:

 

Conservation & Nature Study are educational & recreational activities not previously enjoyed by many Staten Island Youths.  Our programs provide a comprehensive, recreational, and instructional forum.  Our various programs increases the opportunity for Staten Island Youths to participate in a structured Nature Study & Conservation program thereby making them familiar with an alternate lifestyle which is a learning experience, enhances their knowledge, skills, and will help motivate them to pursue a lifestyle free of delinquency and drugs.