Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher Program
Long Island Sound Study - News


Larissa Graham, Long Island Sound Study Outreach Coordinator, NYSG, E: ljg85@cornell.edu; P: 631.632.9216

Stony Brook, NY, May 9, 2011 - The Long Island Sound (LIS) Mentor Teacher Program engages certified educators to share their successful strategies for implementing Long Island Sound into existing curricula with their peers in professional development workshops.

Late last month, two teachers from North Country Middle School joined NYSG's Long Island Sound Study Outreach Specialist Larissa Graham for the first New York workshop at Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai, NY. This workshop focused on tidal wetlands and participants played Sound health-themed games, tested water quality, and learned about wetlands. There was even time for some seining, during which one group safely caught (and later released) a flat-clawed hermit crab and a lion's mane jellyfish.

A second workshop took place this past weekend at Caleb Smith State Park in Smithtown, NY. This workshop was led by a teacher from the Middle Country School district and an informal educator from Your Connection 2 Nature, a local environmental education organization. This workshop focused on watersheds and participants hiked upstream to sample water quality and discuss groundwater input. These participants used a seine net and dip net to collect pond life and caught a lot of macroinvertebrate and some fish species as well.

While this is the first time LIS Mentor Teacher Program workshops have taken place in New York, Connecticut Sea Grant has been conducting similar workshops for about the past five years. Since 2002, the Connecticut Sea Grant-led program has conducted 22 workshops, reaching 284 formal and informal K-13 educators, and through them more than 12,600 students.

"The Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher Program workshops are great because they allow teachers to learn from their peers and discuss real ways that they can get their students out into the field and incorporate Long Island Sound concepts into their curriculum," says Graham.

The goal of the Mentor Teacher Workshops is to give teachers the experience and tools that they need to teach about Long Island Sound in their own classrooms. The LIS Mentor teachers who lead the workshops plan interdisciplinary sessions that include a field component within the Long Island Sound watershed. All workshop participants received a tote bag of resources, in addition to the workshop material presented.

All workshop lessons and activities designed for use in the classroom or field are aligned to the content standards of the Connecticut/New York Science Frameworks and/or the National Science Education Standards, in a format that can be easily implemented into existing curricula.

The Long Island Sound Study, conducted under the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, is a cooperative effort between the EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York to restore and protect the Sound and its ecosystems.

New York Sea Grant, a statewide network of integrated research, education, and extension services promoting the coastal economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness about the State's marine and Great Lakes resources, is currently in its 40th year of "Bringing Science to the Shore."  NYSG, one of 32 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is a cooperative program of the State University of New York and Cornell University.

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