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Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program Celebrating 30th Anniversary With "30 Ways To Give Back To The Bays" Campaign

Nicole Barylski

Join the Marine Program at Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center for "Back to the Bays Stewardship Day." (Photo: www.facebook.com)

This year, Cornell Cooperative Extension is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their Marine Program. In honor of their milestone birthday, the Marine Program is launching a "30 Ways to Give Back to the Bays" campaign, starting with a free, fun, family-friendly "Back to the Bays Stewardship Day" at Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center. The event will take place on Saturday, April 18th from 12 to 3 p.m. The campaign will showcase how the Marine Program is protecting, restoring and enhancing the local marine environment, as well as how the East End community can give back through educational programming.

During "Back to the Bays Stewardship Day," attendees will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with researchers while finding out more about Marine Program's upcoming projects. The event will provide insight into how researchers are getting ready for another field season of intensive work on the water, and under the water, conducting exploration and restoration activities.

Participants will have their pick of workshops, led by Marine Program experts. The Scallop Restoration Project Crew, who maintains the biggest bay scallop spawner sanctuary in the world, will demonstrate what it takes to operate such a large scale restoration operation, including showing attendees the tasks they carry out to sustain the sanctuary on the program's barge, the Shellstar. Participants can help researchers assemble "spat collectors," which increase the number of seed scallop collected and planted in local bays through this project.

The Southold Project in Aquaculture Training (SPAT) Program staff and volunteers will discuss what it takes to grow shellfish, how you can get involved, and SPAT's benefits on local bays. Get hands on by helping create aquaculture cages used to house shellfish grown through the program.

The Marine Meadows Program staff is preparing for yet another season of eelgrass, marsh grass, and dune grass restoration efforts. Find out about what they have in store for this season, while working in their greenhouse helping to prepare Spartina alterniflora plants for grow out, separating beach grass plants, and making burlap planting units used to help restore eelgrass meadows.

Children will enjoy marine science-based crafts and activities with the Youth Education Team, and they can also explore the touch tank room filled with local marine species. An Interactive Shark Lecture will take place at 1:30 p.m., led by a Marine Program educator, who happens to be a shark attack survivor, and shark conservation advocate. Shellfish Hatchery Tours will take place at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Participants will learn about how the program grows millions of shellfish and the algae they eat for restoration and resource enhancement purposes each year.

Peconic Estuary Program (PEP) is hosting a beach clean-up and ecology walk on Cedar Beach, adjacent to the Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center. Shortly before "Back to the Bays Stewardship Day" kicks off, learn more about PEP during their Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting, held at Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center at 10 a.m.

Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center is located at 3690 Cedar Beach Road in Southold. For more information, call 631-461-5294 or visit ccesuffolk.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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