The Long Island Sound (LIS) is an Estuary of National Significance lying east of New York City and in between Connecticut’s southern coast and Long Island’s northern Coast. It is teeming with wildlife and natural resources, which generates a substantial income annually to the regional economy. The LIS’s ability to sustain these functions and income is dependent on the quality of its waters, natural resources, and habitats. Its proximity to an urban area makes it susceptible to numerous challenges such as pollution. However, with proper education and exposure to the LIS, community members can become aware of their impact on the LIS and how they can adjust their lifestyle to prevent the LIS from further decline. The non-profit SoundWaters is an essential resource in environmental education in the LIS. The Schooner SoundWaters provides experiential educational field trips to elementary school through college school group, providing crucial exposure to the LIS. The goal of the project was to develop two citizen science programs to allow participants of the SoundWaters programs conservation efforts without being on the schooner. The citizen science programs were developed using Survey123 for GIS and Project Noah allowing users to locate and specify types of debris and animals around the LIS. Unfortunately, they have not yet been made easily accessible to the public. SoundWaters’ main mission is conservation through education, and for the most part they succeed. The schooner is what makes SoundWaters unique. The education sails focused on biological, physical, anthropogenic, and geographic aspects of the LIS, and although the information taught is crucial for future conservation of the LIS, the manner in which it is conveyed needs to be improved. SoundWaters needs to focus on redesigning labs that centers on education through experiencing the LIS in ways unique to the schooner. This means there needs to be a paradigm shift away from focusing on the lab books and more on utilizing the LIS to convey information. The experiential education and access to the LIS is unparalleled, and if the education programs improve to capture this exposure, SoundWaters may become a leader in conservation through experiential education.
Meehan, Emily, "Experiential marine science education and outreach on the Long Island Sound" (2018). Internship Reports (Restricted). 340.
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