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CNY students to educate boaters

Baldwinsville’s Ashley Regan (front row, left) and Shelby Persons (back row, left) join other members of the first New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards who are Nick Spera (front row, center), Julia Gilbert (front row, right), Kyle Teufel (back row, center) and Matt Brincka (back row, right). The group is participating in a nationwide campaign educating boaters about how to inspect their vessels to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Baldwinsville’s Ashley Regan (front row, left) and Shelby Persons (back row, left) join other members of the first New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards who are Nick Spera (front row, center), Julia Gilbert (front row, right), Kyle Teufel (back row, center) and Matt Brincka (back row, right). The group is participating in a nationwide campaign educating boaters about how to inspect their vessels to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species.

— The first New York Sea Grant Launch stewards are now at public boat launch sites along Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake and the Salmon River.

The six stewards, who include Baldwinsville’s Shelby Persons and Ashley Regan, are participating in a nationwide campaign educating boaters about how to inspect their vessels to help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species. Boaters in New York State participate in the inspections voluntarily.

Regan is a senior at Canisius College majoring in environmental studies with an interest in environmental economics. Persons is a SUNY Cortland Conservation Biology graduate with a chemistry minor.

Other 2012 New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards are: Matthew Brincka, Julia Gilbert, Nicholas Spera and Kyle Teufel.

New York Sea Grant Community Development Specialist Mary Penney, based at SUNY Oswego, leads the environment-focused workforce development initiative.

“This type of ‘in-the-environment’ employment is a great way for students to gain aluable experience through public interaction and education opportunities. They research a chosen aquatic invasive species topic and prepare a public information program and materials. They also engage citizens one-on-one on timely, need-to-know issues of local interest,” Penney said.

The stewards’ observations and documentation of aquatic invasive species is useful to local resource managers and such organizations and agencies as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The students’ career aspirations include becoming environmental resource managers, marine biologists and teachers.

For more information on upcoming NYSG Launch Steward public programs including water chestnut pulls and information on composting aquatic invasive species, contact New York Sea Grant (312-3042) or visit nyseagrant.org/ccd.

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