Eight New York college students interested in environmental science careers have finished working with the New York Sea Grant (NYSG) Launch Steward program. This past summer the launch stewards educated boaters about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). The stewards have demonstrated watercraft inspection at sites along the Lake Ontario shoreline from Sodus Bay to Henderson, the Oswego River, Little Salmon River, Salmon River, Sandy Creek, Stony Creek, and Oneida Lake from Bridgeport to Brewerton.
|The 2014 New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards are, front row from left, Rob Bucci, |
Brittney Rogers, Ashleigh Grosso, and Jordan Bodway, and, back row from left,
David Newell, Rob Tornatore, Jake Barnes, and Jeremy Galvin. Photo by: NYSG
Brittney Rogers of Mexico is serving as Chief Steward with responsibilities for coordinating scheduling and overseeing steward activities, which include collecting data on how often boaters are practicing aquatic invasive prevention practices on their own. She is a 2013 SUNY Oswego zoology graduate who worked with the New York Sea Grant Launch Steward Program in 2013, completed an externship with the Wildlife Center of Virginia earlier this year, and is a Kindred Kingdom Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc. volunteer.
Jake Barnes, a junior at Cazenovia College, is studying environmental biology. :As an angler, I have grown to care about the aquatic ecosystem. Working with the New York Sea Grant Launch Steward program offers the opportunity to provide anglers and boaters with information about how they can help protect our water resources," says Barnes.
Jordan Bodway, a junior at the State of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is studying environmental science. “I am interested in protecting the integrity of our water resources. Working as a New York Sea Grant Launch Steward has provided me with valuable experience in public outreach through interacting with boaters and visitors to the launch areas about how they can help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species,” says Bodway.
Robert Bucci of Pennellville is a SUNY Plattsburgh graduate with a degree in Environmental Science/Ecology. He brings experience as a Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve naturalist and an environmental educator at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ecology Camp to his role as a Launch Steward. "I am interested in building my aquatic species knowledge as a Launch Steward and helping to ensure healthy ecosystems for future generations by interacting with boaters with a goal of becoming an Environmental Conservation Officer," says Bucci.
Jeremy Galvin of Oswego is a sophomore studying Environmental Science Systems at Le Moyne College. "My interest is in environmental engineering. Working with the New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards was a great opportunity to interact with the community and encourage a positive attitude toward conservation," says Galvin.
Ashleigh Grosso of West Monroe is a Cayuga Community College freshman studying Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Science. GIS use photographs and images from satellites, GPS waypoints and other data sources to create interactive maps for decision makers in environmental, government, law enforcement and other fields. "I have begun to explore career options related to the environment, environmental education and technology. I enjoyed working as a Launch Steward to help educate boaters about aquatic invasive species and how to slow their spread," says Grosso.
David Newell, a junior at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is studying Natural Resources Management. "I am interested in working as an Environmental Conservation Officer and the New York Sea Grant Launch Steward program has given me the opportunity to network with environmental professionals and interact with the public about aquatic invasive species," says Newell.
Rob Tornatore, a senior at the College at Brockport, is studying Environmental Science with a career goal of becoming an Environmental Conservation Officer. “I have enjoyed working as a New York Sea Grant Launch Steward and helping to keep our lakes healthy for future generations. The Steward program allowed me various learning experiences for both the stewards and the boaters who participate in the watercraft inspection demonstrations,” says Tornatore.
The stewards provided a voluntary service for operators of motorized and non-motorized boats, and shared information on the easy-to-implement Clean, Drain, Dry method that boaters can use to help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species such as European water chestnut, Hydrilla, Waterfleas, European frog-bit, Asian clam, and Rusty crayfish.
The students hired as the 2014 New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards have been trained by New York Sea Grant, which has developed the New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook for the Cornell University Statewide Invasive Species Outreach Program. The handbook is funded in part by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
New York Sea Grant Coastal Community Development Specialist Mary Penney serves as the Launch Steward Program Coordinator. New York Sea Grant coordinates the Steward Program in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; New York State Parks; the Towns of Henderson, Scriba, and Sodus; the City of Oswego; and Onondaga County Parks. Funding is through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance.
For more information, contact Mary Penney at 315-312-3042. New York Sea Grant offers an RSS news feed, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links online at www.nyseagrant.org.