Stony Brook, NY, September 16, 2011 - Last Friday, September 9, Assemblymen Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) and Fred Thiele, Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) presented New York Sea Grant with a New York State Assembly proclamation at the group's 40th anniversary celebration at the Long Island Maritime Museum (LIMM) in West Sayville.
The proclamation was signed by every member of the Suffolk County State Assembly to commemorate 40 years of research and outreach regarding many of the most pressing coastal issues facing Long Island.
(l-r) New York Sea Grant Director Dr. Jim Ammerman, Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, and Assemblyman Fred Thiele.
As reported by Sayville Patch.com reporter Shana Braff, about 100 people attended the afternoon reception of networking in an authentic maritime setting, including funding partners, coastal managers, Stony Brook University administrators, marine science researchers, graduate students, stakeholders, business owners, Sea Grant staff, advisors, anglers and educators.
Sea Grant has funded more than 600 research projects, and more than 600 graduate students, many of whom are in a position of influence relative to the marine and Great Lakes District, whether in government or academia.
George Wallace, the first Suffolk County poet laureate, recited Walt Whitman's "Poems Of Joy," which is about being engaged in, and working with, the sea. Wallace is the writer in residence at Walt Whitman's birthplace in Huntington.
"Anytime I have the opportunity to demonstrate the relevance of Walt Whitman's work to an audience, it's fun to do that," Wallace said. "Being a Long Island native living in the mid-19th century, [Whitman] had intimate knowledge of working people like fishermen. He gives voice to them so beautifully."
A jazz trio, comprised of students from the Stony Brook University music department, was joined by Barbara Branca, New York Sea Grant's communications manager, who sang a few numbers including an apt variation on a classic: "Beyond the Sea Grant."
Cornelia Schlenk, assistant director of New York Sea Grant, explained that one of the unique aspects of Sea Grant is its unbiased, fact-based approach. "We're there to generate information or convey information," she said. "We don't take positions on issues. Our goal is to keep people informed, so they can make the decision."
New York Sea Grant is one of 32 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a cooperative program of the State University of New York and Cornell University. The National Sea Grant College Program utilizes this network of the nation's premier universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to encourage science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources.
NYSG Assistant Director Cornelia Schlenk (left); NYSG Communications Manager Barbara Branca and poet laureate George Wallace (right).
Additional pictures from NYSG's 40th Anniversary event, taken by Sayville Patch.com's Shana Braff, are featured in the image slider below ...