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New York Sea Grant Announces New Aquatic Invasive Species Education Program

Oswego, NY – New York Sea Grant’s new Aquatic Invasive Species Resource Educators are at work along the Lake Ontario and the Salmon River. Stacy Furgal and Greg Chapman are informing anglers, watercraft enthusiasts, and local residents and visitors about how to recognize and help slow the spread of non-native organisms that can harm the environment and negatively impact local economies.

“The critical aspect of this new initiative is the unique opportunity it provides for face-to-face, one-on-one and group education. The focus is on identifying invasive species, understanding the impact of those species on habitats, fisheries and the Great Lakes ecosystem, and on sharing how you can help slow their spread,” says New York Sea Grant Coastal Community Development Specialist Mary Penney who oversees the new public outreach effort.

“This new program gives people the opportunity to ask questions in the environment where they already have an interest and can make a difference in protecting the resource,” Penney adds.

Furgal, an Oswego County native from Williamstown, previously worked as an Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Salmon River Steward while earning her degree in fisheries and aquatic science at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She is an avid outsdoorswoman with an interest in fisheries biology and conservation.

Greg Chapman of East Concord, NY, served as Chief Steward of the Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Salmon River Steward program in 2008 and 2009. He is pursuing a degree in conservation biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and enjoys hiking and nature photography.

The two educators will provide support to the 2011 Discover Clean & Safe Boating campaign, a collaborative project of New York Sea Grant, the Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York, and Marathon Boat Group.

For updates on Sea Grant activities and initiatives in New York’s Great Lakes and marine waters, go online to www.nyseagrant.org, http://facebook.com/nyseagrant, and http://twitter.com/nyseagrant