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Aug 2, 2019 1:41 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Riverhead Foundation Rebrands Becoming New York Marine Rescue Center

A sea turtle release of two turtles rehabiliated by NYMRC, fomerly The Riverhead Foundation. http://nymarinerescue.org
Aug 7, 2019 11:23 AM

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research is changing its name and logo, annnouncing on July 3 that it is now the New York Marine Rescue Center.

The changes are effective immediately and will be changed throughout all aspects of the organization through the end of the year.

The goal of the rebranding of the name and logo is hoped to better reflect the work done by the center throughout New York State and the animals that are rescued and rehabilitated allowing “the strongest, most effective impact on these important marine conservation initiatives,” said Charles Bowman, president of the group’s board of directors.

The center hopes the rebrand will better reflect the work it does for New York marine life, while remaining the only facility in New York state that is authorized by both state and federal governments to rehabilitate seals and sea turtles rescued from New York waters.

“With the new name, we want to make sure we are telling the public who we report to,” said Maxine Montello, the rescue program director. “We cover all of New York. With the name Riverhead Foundation, it seemed like we are only going out for Riverhead animals. But we are the only facility in New York permitted to rehabilitate seals and sea turtles, so with that New York in our name it’s able to cover the whole area.”

In the past 23 years, the group has responded to thousands of stranded marine animals and has successfully rehabilitated 1,070 animals, according to its website, nymarinerescue.org. Many of the animals are stranded on the beach and are rescued after calls come through the New York State hotline, 631-369-9829.

According to the website: “When a report is received, a team of biologists, interns, and/or volunteers conducts a field assessment to determine if the animal does, in fact, need to come back for rehabilitation.”

The changes from the logo of the Riverhead Foundation to the new logo comes from changes in animals treated. “Our old logo also had a whale and a dolphin in it. Though we still respond to dolphins, we are no longer the primary response team for the big baline whales. And so, with that, we thought, with the new name, what’s better than getting a new logo? That logo has been with us for 20-plus years. So we are just changing everything new and having a fresh start.” Ms. Montello said.

The rebrand is hoped to bring renovations to the rehabilitation center. “We are also planning to revitalize our rescue center tanks and equipment and to make reservations that will allow for greater public viewing of the rescue center activities,” Mr. Bowman said.

The center was built in 1996 in an old lumber warehouse. Three years later, the Long Island Aquarium was built around the Riverhead Foundation.

The tanks and equipment for rehabilitation are outdated and numerous advancements in marine rehabilitation, such as better tanks for turtles and seals, have been made since the center was built. The center hopes to update their X-ray machine and process making this system digital so scans are easier to take and read.

However, the rebrand doesn’t change the mission of the center. Organizers still strive to help protect and rehabilitate animals found on Long Island.

“Our mission is to preserve and protect the marine environment through conservation efforts including rescue, rehabilitation, education and research,” according to the website.

The center is running programs previously run by the Riverhead Foundation, such as the cold-stunned sea turtle lecture and training, beach cleanings, mock strandings, behind-the-scene tours, and the very popular, sea turtle releases.

The first sea turtle release under the new banner will be held on August 9 at 6 p.m. at Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays.

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