NY Sea Grant program teaches ways to reduce impact

Wed April 27, 2022 2:50 PM

Submitted by New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant has released “Plastic Pollution and You,” a 126-page, 15-lesson program focused on a human-made threat to the health of New York’s freshwater marine and aquatic ecosystems. The program is designed to be suitable for multiple grade levels, meets New York State and Next Generation Learning Standards, and aligns with the Department of Conservation’s New York Ocean Action Plan. New York State Environment and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Program (NOAA) Marine Debris Initiatives in New York’s Coastal Regions (Great Lakes and Marine and Coastal District of New York).

The program is co-authored by Kathleen Fallon, Ph.D., coastal process and risk specialist at New York Sea Grant, Stony Brook; and Nate Drag, New York Sea Grant, Great Lakes Literacy Specialist and Associate Director of the Great Lakes Program at the University at Buffalo.

In addition to several teachers from across New York State, representatives from the DEC, NOAA Marine Debris Program, Michigan State University Extension, Maryland and New York Sea Grant programs, and Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, participated in the program review.

“In Suffolk County, we have prioritized protecting the environment through actions such as banning single-use plastic bags, personal care products containing microbeads and releasing helium balloons.While legislation is an important part of protecting the environment, we also need to focus on educating our future generations about what they can do to reduce the negative impact that plastics have on our freshwater and marine life Having sponsored Suffolk County Resolution 450-2018 to create the Marine Debris Program, I would like to thank New York Sea Grant, Dr. Kathleen Fallon and Nate Drag for their work in creating this important initiative,” said Anker.

“New York Sea Grant was delighted to bring its experience and expertise to this collaborative effort to develop an innovative new program to educate and generate interest in reducing and preventing plastic pollution in marine environments and New York State’s freshwater – from our Atlantic Ocean coastline and Long Island Sound, to the Hudson River estuary, the St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers, and the two Great Lakes of the The program will play an important role in inspiring the next generation of coastal stewards,” said New York Sea Grant Director Rebecca L. Shuford, Ph.D.

The Plastic Pollution and You lessons and activities invite students to think about what plastic is, how they use it, and the impact of plastic pollution on the environment. They learn about the different types of plastics, their impact on marine and freshwater ecosystems, as well as the recycling process and waste capture technology.

Skills developed during program lessons include data collection, mapping, mapping, position statement preparation and technology solution design, behavior change campaigns, public policy and action at the community level to solve the problem of plastic pollution.

A recording of the New York Sea Grant’s “Plastic Pollution and You” introductory webinar for teachers and educators is available online at http://www.nyseagrant.org/plasticpollution.

Funding for the development of this program was provided by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund administered by DEC.

The New York Ocean Action Plan (OAP) aims to achieve a better managed and healthier ocean ecosystem that benefits people, communities and the natural world. The development of this curriculum supports OAP Goal Four of raising awareness of ocean issues and threats to its ecological integrity. Raising awareness and educating key audiences helps increase communication, transparency and build support for ocean conservation and management.

New York Sea Grant is a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, and one of 34 university programs working with coastal communities through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Learn more about www.nyseagrant.org.

More information

Educators who participated in the Plastic Pollution and You curriculum review are listed here by geographic area:

√ Alden: Alison Moran, Alden High School

√ Buffalo: Jerry Krajna, Riverside Academy

√ Center Square: Fred Kowanes, PV Moore High School

√ Hicksville: Theresa Leahy, Hicksville Public Schools

√ Lewiston: Colleen Edwards, Niagara University

√ Mastic Beach: Terri Randall, William Floyd High School

√ Oswego: Heather Haskins, Trinity Catholic School

√ Philadelphia, NY: Lindsey Steblen and Andrea Inserra, Indian River School District

√ Port Jefferson Station: Shane Goldberg, Comsewogue High School

√ Selden: Pamela Lynch, Suffolk County Community College

√ Clayton: Janet Burrows, retired, 1000 Islands Central School

Bryce K. Locke