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Aug 6, 2019 3:40 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Teacher Workshop Educates New York Teachers At Stony Brook Southampton Campus

Christine Santora, Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmosphere Sciences,  shows teachers how to seine fish from the beach. KIM CAMPO
Aug 7, 2019 11:46 AM

Despite the fact that many are located close to or on the water, many New York school districts lack marine science education.

The lack of these programs inspired Christine Santora, assistant director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, to contact the regional leader for New York Master Teacher Program to help create a four-day immersive program to give teachers in the program experience with marine science.

The program, hosted by Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, was offered to teachers in the Master Teacher program. The program, created by Governor Andrew Cuomo, is an educational initiative designed to create a network of experienced K-12 STEM teachers. Selected Master Teachers are able to participate in professional development opportunities, such as the recent program at Stony Brook’s Southampton Campus, and share their knowledge with fellow teachers in their home district.

The program was meant to educate the teachers of Long Island and upstate New York about how the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program uses science to help restore water quality, shellfish populations and eelgrass habitats through hands-on experience.

“They learned about specific species and habitats, learned how to measure water quality, sampled fisheries, measured oyster growth and mortality, created shell bags for our reefs, and used GIS to identify spatial trends based on data we collected,” Ms. Santora said.

She proposed the idea for the program because of the lack of marine science education. “I wanted to create a chance for science teachers to have access to the cutting-edge research and applied science we undertake at SoMAS — both a state and global leader in marine science,” she said.

The program was successful, and 20 New York teachers now have a better understanding of coastal restoration and conservation and how to educate their students on “real-world phenomena, and how to design solutions to local environmental issues,” said Ms. Santora.

“I was honored to meet and work with 20 of these teachers, and I am truly inspired by their ideas, strategies, enthusiasm and motivation,” she said.

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