Long Island Sound Study: 2019 Mentor-Teacher Workshops
Publications: Success Stories - Extension (2020)

Above, left: Workshop participants and Mentor-Teachers Dr. Hildur Palsdottir, 2nd from left, and Leah Master, far right, create a study plot on the beach to sample microplastics at Sands Point, NY. Above, right: Mentor-Teacher Amy Olander, left, and a workshop participant verify the results of a water quality test. Credit: Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, NYSG

Providing classroom teachers with tools to educate about Long Island Sound subjects is key to NYSG's support of professional development opportunities


Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, NYSG Long Island Sound Study Outreach Coordinator, E: jbp255@cornell.edu, P: (631) 632-8730

Stony Brook, NY, March 2, 2020 - Given Long Island Sound’s (LIS) significant environmental and economic importance in New York and Connecticut, as well as its status as an urban estuary heavily impacted by human activity, it is crucial to create programs that promote an understanding of the dynamics that govern LIS, and foster stewardship. Importantly, equipping educators who will introduce youth to these environmental subjects at an early age helps create more environmentally conscientious and engaged citizens. 

The Long Island Sound Study’s Mentor-Teacher program provides educators with a platform, resources, and support to create and lead professional development workshops for other educators. The workshops are built around LIS subjects to equip educators to share localized lessons and hands-on activities that can be included in existing curricula. 

In 2019, workshops were built on the themes of From Your Yard to the River and Plot Studies of Coastal Ecosystems on Long Island’s North Shore. The first workshop, led by Veronica Morabito-Weeks (Hauppauge Public Schools) and Amy Olander (Smithtown School District), centered around nitrogen pollution and included activities on how to use oyster tanks for classroom demonstrations on water quality. 

The second workshop was led by Leah Master, a teacher at the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County, and Dr. Hildur Palsdottir, an environmental educator on the ReWild Long Island Board of Directors and the Science Museum of Long Island Board of Trustees. The workshop focused on hands-on activities to explore erosion and microplastics.  

Thirteen educators in total participated in these workshops with the potential to reach an estimated 1,325 youth: 125 elementary, 600 middle school, and 600 high school students.

The Long Island Sound Study’s Mentor-Teacher program equips teachers to ensure lessons about Long Island Sound and local environmental issues are incorporated into existing school curricula. This educational outreach raises awareness and encourages interest in stewardship.

The Sea Grant Focus Area for this project is Environmental Literacy & Workforce Development in New York. 

Project Partners:  

• Coastal Steward Long Island
• Town of Brookhaven

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.

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