New York Sea Grant's Launch Steward Program: STOP AQUATIC HITCHHIKERS!

New York Sea Grant's Launch Steward Program: STOP AQUATIC HITCHHIKERS!

The New York Sea Grant (NYSG) managed Launch Steward Program teaches boaters how to look for, remove and properly dispose of aquatic hitchhikers to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. NYSG Launch Stewards are stationed at select boat launches along Lake Ontario from Wayne County to Jefferson County and inland on Oneida Lake and the Salmon River Reservoir.

This blog will provide a glimpse into steward activities while providing boaters with tips to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Where Are They Now?

New York Sea Grant Stewards Find Career Success

Since 1985, students working as New York Sea Grant (NYSG) stewards have helped educate local citizens and visitors about how to enjoy New York’s natural resources in an ecologically-friendly way. Since 2006, the steward program has also served as an environmental science workforce development program providing participants with valuable career development experience.

The stewards’ focus on ecologically-responsible use of the Eastern Lake Ontario Dunes and Wetlands Area and Salmon River Corridor expanded over the years to include education on preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species in 7 counties stretching from Sodus and Port Bays in Wayne County to Black Pond in Jefferson County, inland to the Redfield Reservoir in Oswego County and Sylvan Beach in Oneida County, and sites in Cayuga, Onondaga and Madison counties.

The stewards reached audiences through public outreach events, the development of publications and PowerPoint presentations, one-on-one interaction, and assisting implementation and shoreline stewardship projects. The 2014 NYSG Launch Stewards helped develop the steward training and field guide section of the New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook.

NYSG Provides Eco-Career Training

In 2014, NYSG tracked the career success of former stewards to see “where they are now.” The stewards credit the program with contributing to their futures as scientific professionals, conservationists, and environmental educators.

Former stewards are currently employed with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Terrestrial Environmental Specialists, Inc., the United States Geological Survey, Washington State University Extension and The Nature Conservancy’s Growing Leaders on Behalf of the Environment internship program;

 Former stewards value their NYSG experiences:

2013 NYSG Launch Steward Crew
Top (left to right) Nick Spera, Clinton Whittaker, Ryan Thompson
Middle (left to right) Brittney Rogers, Mary Penney
Bottom (left to right) Heather Dunham, Sophia Oliveira, Megan Pristolese
Photo by Dave White, NYSG

 “My time as a NYSG steward prepared me to think
on my feet, be adaptive to situations, and react to
diverse stakeholders respectfully and professionally”
— Shelby Persons, Terrestrial Environmental Specalists

 “Becoming a NYSG steward made me more aware of the importance of
 stakeholder engagement in the conservation process”
 — John Koltz, Booz Allen Hamilton

 “Being a NYSG steward really opened my eyes to the
amount of debate that surrounds environmental issues and policies” 
— Kyle Teufel, Baltimore Woods Nature Center

 “I gained the ability to translate complicated scientific
information, making it more easily understood by the public” 
— Ryan Thompson, Bristol Myers Squibb

 “Being a NYSG Scholar and Launch Steward,
I developed an understanding of how to work
collaboratively with private and public interests”
 — Matt Brincka, Washington State University Extension

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