Phoenix Student among New York’s New Launch Stewards

Oswego, NY – The first New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards are now at public boat launch sites along Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake and the Salmon River.

The six stewards are participating in a nationwide campaign educating boaters about how to inspect their vessels to help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The six stewards
The six stewards

Boaters in New York State participate in the inspections voluntarily.

The 2012 New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards are:

Matthew Brincka of Webster, NY, a SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) graduate with a degree in Resource Management;

Julia Gilbert of Phoenix, NY, a sophomore at SUNY Canton, majoring in Engineering Science with an interest in alternative energy and the environment;

Shelby Persons of Baldwinsville, NY, a SUNY Cortland Conservation Biology graduate with a Chemistry minor

Ashley Regan of Baldwinsville, NY, a senior at Canisius College, majoring in Environmental Studies with an interest in environmental economics

Nicholas Spera of Brewerton, NY, Nazareth College graduate with a concentration in Environmental Science and Psychology; and

Kyle L. Teufel of Syracuse, NY, a first-year graduate student at SUNY ESF studying Environmental Biology with an interest in becoming a biology teacher.

New York Sea Grant Community Development Specialist Mary Penney, based at SUNY Oswego, leads the environment-focused workforce development initiative.

“This type of ‘in-the-environment’ employment is a great way for students to gain valuable experience through public interaction and education opportunities. They research a chosen aquatic invasive species topic and prepare a public information program and materials. They also engage citizens one-on-one on timely, need-to-know issues of local interest,” Penney said.

The stewards’ observations and documentation of aquatic invasive species is useful to local resource managers and such organizations and agencies as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The students’ career aspirations include becoming environmental resource managers, marine biologists, and teachers.

For more information on upcoming NYSG Launch Steward public programs, including water chestnut pulls and information on composting aquatic invasive species, contact New York Sea Grant, 315-312-3042 or check the web at