Volunteers Collect Data on Threatened & Endangered Species on Great Gull Island
Long Island Sound Study - News


Larissa Graham, Long Island Sound Educator, New York Sea Grant, E: ljg85@cornell.edu

Stony Brook, NY, August 3, 2012 - Each summer since 1969, Helen Hays, the Director of the Great Gull Island Project, has coordinated researchers, students, and volunteers to monitor and protect the colony of birds living on Great Gull Island, a Long Island Sound Study (LISS) Stewardship Area located at the far eastern end of Long Island Sound in New York. This 17-acre island is critically important to the survival of two species of tern: the common Tern, a threatened species in New York, and the Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii), a federally-listed endangered species.

This year, New York Sea Grant's LISS Outreach Coordinator, Larissa Graham, organized two trips around Memorial Day for New York State Marine Education Association (NYSMEA) members, LISS staff, partners and volunteers around the Sound to assist Hays with her efforts. These two groups of volunteers spent a weekend on the island, marking tern nests and counting eggs. A follow-up trip took place on August 2, during which LISS staff traveled to the island to learn about Hays’ efforts and the data being collected for the Island's threatened and endangered species.

During each trips (which are well documented in the photo galleries below), Hays and her volunteers gave the educators, staff and partners a tour of the island, showing them the common and roseate tern nests and chicks, and telling the group a bit about their project.

Hays is always looking for volunteers to assist with sampling efforts. For those interested, visit the Great Gull Island Project Web site. And for more on Great Gull Island, read LISS's Sound Update article in the summer 2011 issue (pdf). There is also a July 2012 feature article in The New York Times (pdf) as well as a video clip by Citizens Campaign for the Environment's Maureen Dolan Murphy that documents one of these summer 2012 trips.

For more on what you can do to make a difference in the Long Island Sound, click over to the "Get Involved" section of the Long Island Sound Study's Web site. News on the Long Island Sound Study can also be found in New York Sea Grant's related archives.

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 (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 32 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971. For updates on New York Sea Grant activities, www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links.

Here are some pictures from the various events. A slide show with additional photos is below as well ...

May 2012. Photo by Larissa Graham, NYSG LISS Outreach Coordinator

May 2012. Photo by Larissa Graham, NYSG LISS Outreach Coordinator

August 2012. Photo by Larissa Graham, NYSG LISS Outreach Coordinator

May 2012. Photo by Larissa Graham, NYSG LISS Outreach Coordinator

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