OSWEGO, NY – Four Oswego County college students interested in environmental science careers are working with the New York Sea Grant Launch Steward program this summer to educate boaters about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
They are demonstrating 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 stewards provide a voluntary service for operators of motorized and non-motorized boats and share 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.
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.
Rogers 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.
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,” Bucci said.
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 Steward is a great opportunity to interact with the community and encourage a positive attitude toward conservation,” Galvin said.
Ashleigh Grosso of West Monroe is a Cayuga Community College freshman studying Geographic Information Systems 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 am beginning to explore career options related to the environment, environmental education and technology. I look forward to working as a Launch Steward to help educate boaters about aquatic invasive species and how to slow their spread,” Grosso said.
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.
In addition to the four Oswego County residents, the 2014 Launch Stewards include Jake Barnes, Wolcott; Jordan Bodway, Sylvan Beach; David Newell, Henderson; and Anthony Tornatore, Canastota.
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 Penney at 315-312-3042. New York Sea Grant offers an RSS news feed, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links online at http://www.nyseagrant.org
New York Sea Grant is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program of NOAA. The Program engages the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training, and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conversation of aquatic resources. New York Sea Grant has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about New York’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.