Betsy Conger, 16, is a junior at Fishers Island School, which she has attended since sixth grade. She lives in Stonington, Conn. and takes the ferry to school each day. Her older sister, Olivia Backhaus, who was also a Fishers Island School student and an Island Sentinel for 5 years, first introduced Betsy to environmental work on the Island.
Betsy’s environmental studies began in her school science classes. After several class field trips, she was intrigued by the Island’s beauty and wanted to become an Island Sentinel to learn more about environmental work taking place here. As lead Island Sentinel, Betsy helps to monitor sites with the other Island Sentinels. She also collects data sheets and inputs all data into the computer. Serving as an Island Sentinel has given her a greater appreciation of the Island’s ever-changing ecosystem and other factors that are so critical to the long-term health of the Island.
Gardner Thors, 17, lives in New York City and is a sophomore at Groton School in Massachusetts. He has been a Sentinel for four years, after first volunteering for one summer. As a city kid, he doesn’t get to experience nature and wildlife except for the landscaped Central Park and the infamous pigeons and squirrels of the city. Fishers Island is his wildlife sanctuary. Gardner has been summering here for as long as he can remember, and Fishers holds a special place in his heart. That is why he chose to play a part in the preservation of this environment. Gardner looks forward to learning more about the Island’s ecosystems and sharing what he learns with the Island community. His brother, Wilson, is also a passionate Sentinel.
Wilson Thors lives in New York City and is a sophomore at Groton School in Massachusetts. 2018 was his second summer as a Sentinel, and he volunteered to monitor for FIConservancy before becoming a Sentinel. He joined the Sentinel program, because he was curious about his brother’s experiences as a Sentinel. Wilson has always appreciated the natural beauty of Fishers Island, but now he has a deeper love of the Island since learning more about animals and learning that we share this great place with the wildlife.
Marc Rosenberg, 14, lives in New York City and is a freshman at Bronx High School of Science. 2018 was his “volunteer” year and first summer as a Sentinel. He joined the Sentinel program because he was interested in sea life and wildlife on Fishers Island.
Marc’s interest in sea life was sparked when he vacationed in Greece and observed the multitude of fish through his goggles. After this experience, Marc became increasingly curious about wildlife on and around Fishers Island. Even though Marc learned much this summer, he hopes that next year he will better his understanding of Fishers Island and continue to be a help to the Sentinels. He also hopes to convince his sister to become a Sentinel!
Marc enjoys spending time under water and made a video of seagrass off the coast of Fishers Island. See Marc’s video.