According to FIConservancy Naturalist Justine Kibbe, who founded the Island Sentinels program in 2013, “The Island Sentinel program was established to forward the idea that local traditional knowledge can and should be bridged with Science. Younger generations of the Fishers Island community are empowered with the capability and capacity to contribute to the preservation and conservation of its own lands.”
FIConservancy pays annually for three-to-four year-round, summer or magnet students at FI School, who become part of a committed team mentored by Justine. To collect data, they walk or bicycle to 10 Island sites, including Dock Beach, South Beach, Hay Harbor, Silver Eel Cove, Race Point, Isabella beach, Chocomount beach, East Harbor, Middle Farms pond, and the Fishers Island Club beach.
Among the Sentinels’ observations are weather, wildlife, seaweed, marine/human debris, human presence, current activity at the site, and any general changes or inconsistencies. The Sentinels record data, which is collected in a database currently being developed for access on the Conservancy’s website.