Word of the day: Ecology
The branch of biology that deals with the relationship between living things and their environment. From Greek “oikos” -> “eco” meaning “house”.
In the morning, we gathered the students in a classroom to teach the lesson before our Randall’s Island Ride. We first talked about the word of the day, which was “ecology.” Ecology was the word of the day because we would be learning about the environment and wildlife on the island thanks to the Randall’s Island Park Alliance. We then talked about the history of the island, and learned that Randall’s Island used to be 2 separate islands – Randall’s and Wards. Next, we used a bike map of the city to explain the route for today. We will be riding along the East River to get to the 103rd St. pedestrian bridge to get across to Randall’s Island. The kids were very excited to start riding again, so we finished the lesson quickly and were on our way by 10am!
Randall’s/Wards Island Ride
Today was our second ride of the season! Our riders for today were Clarence, Noor, Samyra, and Steven. After the lesson, we walked our bikes from the Beacon School, down 96th St. to the East River Esplanade. We then got on our bikes and traveled north to towards the pedestrian bridge on 103rd St. We switched to low gears and quickly rode up the ramps and across the bridge to Randall’s Island. When we got to the island, we met Rachel, our tour guide for the day from the Randall’s Island Park Alliance. We learned about the activities offered on the island, such as free movie nights, open track nights at Icahn Stadium, and the use of the many well-maintained green spaces.
There was a geocache right by the bridge, so our first activity was to find the cache. Half of the group went to find the cache, and the other half stayed in the shade to cool off. We also set up a solar oven with a raw egg inside, in the hopes that the egg would be cooked by the time we were done with the ride. (Update: even though it was really sunny outside, the egg was still half raw at the end of the ride). We then rode our bikes to the Native Plant Garden. We saw many different types of bees, such as the bumble bee, leaf cutter bee, and honeybee. When the honeybee stings, it dies immediately because the stinger and its insides are ripped out of the body. We smelled, tasted, and learned about the different native plants that were in the garden. After refilling our water bottles and taking a quick break, we rode to the Urban Farm. The garden was growing a large variety of foods, such as lettuce, kale, squash, and rice. We even got to see some of the chickens living on the farm.
We stopped at the picnic tables near the farm to eat lunch, and then rode off to tour the other side of island. Cappy taught us about how the different colored markings on the asphalt indicate where certain services are located. For example, blue means water, red means electricity, yellow means gas, and green means sewage. We stopped in a grassy area to find our second geocache of the day! Noor helped to decode the clue before everyone set off to find the cache. Afterwards, we rode our bikes towards the pedestrian bridge and made a stop at a rest area to refill our water bottles before the ride back to the school. On the way to the rest area, Cappy had a flat tire and Steven’s bike handlebars flipped over, but both problems were quickly fixed. Our final stop was to find some staghorn sumac plants to make “lemonade.” The kids were very excited about the prospect of drinking lemonade but were slightly disappointed that the sumac tea wasn’t as sweet as they had expected. Finally, we made our way back to the Beacon School by riding over the pedestrian bridge, going along the East River to 96th St., and then walking our bikes back to the school. Even though it was very hot and humid outside (almost 100 degrees!) everyone had a great time and made it back to the school safely!
Alberto Rivero, Cappy Collins, Akeem Williams, Lauren Lee, Celeste Matsui, JiaMei Huang, Emera de los Santos
Miles biked: 7.12
Program time (hours): 7 hours
Ride time (hours): 4 hours
Estimates based on 100lbs, 5′ 2″ ht, 13 yo, average between male and female.