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Lake Erie, Lake Ontario Educators Receive Great Lakes Network Awards

by jmaloni


Wed, Jun 18th 2014 02:10 pm

The New York Sea Grant Extension Office at Cornell University has announced the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network honored two of its Great Lakes program educators for excellence.

New York Sea Grant Coastal Community Development Specialist Mary Penney of Oswego received the 2014 Great Lakes Sea Grant Network Mid-Career Award. New York Sea Grant Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske of Buffalo received the 2014 Great Lakes Outstanding Outreach Programming Award with five colleagues for programming that provides teachers with field experiences to improve watershed education in the classroom.

The network of Sea Grant programs in the eight Great Lakes states presented the awards at its 2014 Great Lakes Sea Grant Network conference June 17 in Erie, Pennsylvania.

"In just eight years of service with New York Sea Grant, Mary Penney has applied a community-driven needs assessment approach to identify and respond to the priority issues of decision-makers in the Eastern Lake Ontario region and its inland water areas, including the Salmon River," said New York Sea Grant Associate Director Katherine Bunting-Howarth.

As a New York Sea Grant coastal community development specialist, Penney assists local leaders interested in land use planning, watershed protection, managing climate impact, coastal business retention and development, and developing stewardship volunteerism. She often facilitates multi-interest stakeholder communication forums to promote sustainable coastal community development.

Penney, based at SUNY Oswego, has developed science-based fact sheets and packaged traveling education trunks for use by school districts throughout the Eastern Lake Ontario region.

She has trained young professionals to be stewards for the Lake Ontario dunes - Salmon River system - and as watercraft inspection stewards educating the public in seven Central New York counties about how boaters can help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species in New York's recreational waters. She is currently completing development of the New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook.

Working with educators from the Sea Grant programs in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois-Indiana, New York Sea Grant Coastal Education Specialist Domske provides professional development training that equips K-12 grade-level teachers to actively engage thousands of students in Great Lakes environmental stewardship.

Domske is a respected and award-winning proponent of Great Lakes literacy training. Her "teach-the-teachers" approach extends science-based learning and activities to support curricula development focused on Great Lakes and New York resources.

The following efforts are among the results inspired by Domske's programming in 2014:

•10 student-led beach or stream cleanups in Western New York;

•Student-developed informational materials on the proper disposal of unwanted pharmaceuticals and personal care products;

•100 Oswego County students interacted with biologists at the New York State Salmon River Fish Hatchery;

•Oswego high school students participated in an invasive species-mapping project at a local field station;

•Students upgraded Sandy Bottom Park and a boardwalk on Honeoye Lake and built and installed wood duck nesting and bat boxes with educational signing; and

•Williamsville High School students created a "Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection" (LEAP) club.

"The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network Outstanding Outreach Programming Award recognizes success built on exceptional leadership and teamwork that creates significant effect on the Great Lakes environment - that describes the impact of New York Sea Grant Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske's programming every year," Bunting-Howarth said.

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.

Find research reports, project updates, newsletters, RSS, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links at www.nyseagrant.org.

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