An Alum’s “Tern” to Teach

Taking a break after a nature scavenger hunt.

When Club Alum and Nassau County Supreme Court Judge David (Dave) Gugerty was about 8 years old, Grenville Baker had a challenge for the kids in the community: Clean it up!

In the days before curbside recycling programs, local residents and organizations helped keep the community clean with recycling drives. To incentivize the kids, the Club developed a tiered set of prizes — the most coveted of which was a Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club jacket.

That’s all Dave and his brother, Paul, needed to hear, and they were off to uncover every stray can and bottle in the neighborhood.  Encouraged by their father, Leo, the brothers literally “dove” into their project… into bushes and garbage cans. Together, Dave and Paul were able to fill their family’s white Chevy station wagon to the top, and before long,  were on their way home in matching Club jackets. (While their parents likely went out to get the car washed!)

Dave looks back at that experience as setting the stage for what has become a life-long passion and interest: our local environment. While he is an attorney and judge by profession, Dave has dedicated years to preserving our local lands during his free time, including serving seven years on the Bayville Environmental Conservation Commission.

Zooming in to observe Osprey baby chicks.

Notably, his dedication to caring for his local community doesn’t stop there. As a Grenville Baker Club kid himself, Dave understands how experiences through the Boys & Girls Club can shape lives! And so he continues to pay it forward as a volunteer.

In fact, in late July, Dave volunteered his time to help our campers explore and discover the wonders of nature right in our own backyard. For our youngest campers, he led a nature walk down to the Long Island Sound for a scavenger hunt along the shoreline. Later in the week, he met with our older campers at Stehli’s beach to teach about and guide the kids in observing local birds, such as osprey and terns. While he explained the efforts being made to protect these wildlife and their habitat, the kids enjoyed using a scope to zoom in on the osprey nest with three baby chicks.

This week, Dave is coming back to camp, leading visits to the Lattingtown Preserve and Lagoon, as well as the Coffin Woods Preserve in Locust Valley.

We thank Dave for his time and passion to teach our kids the importance of conservation and appreciation for our animal friends!

We are always looking for ways to enrich the learning experiences of our kids. If you have expertise you wish to share or would like to volunteer in another way, please contact Saskia.Thomson@gbbgc.org.