Marine Education Association
South Shore Estuary Learning Facilitator (sSELF) Program
The sSELF project was designed to empower school and/or community groups to be active stewards of their local estuarine environment through education and monitoring. The Long Island South Shore Estuary encompasses 325 square miles of shallow bays and tidal tributaries located along the south shore of Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York.
The South Shore Estuary Reserve watershed includes a variety of land uses from urban to suburban to rural. Increased scientific monitoring of the estuary’s water quality and fostering citizen appreciation, education and stewardship of its resources are important objectives of the Reserve Comprehensive Management Plan adopted by New York State and the South Shore Estuary Reserve Council in 2001. An Estuary Learning Facilitator (ELF) from the sSELF program visits the groups, offers background on monitoring and works to facilitate a monitoring/action project at a particular site of interest to the group. The sSELF program supplies the materials and equipment necessary and trains the group members. In addition to field work and programs at the schools, workshops have been held at Dowling College and the Long Island Maritime Museum.
$20,000 has been awarded to NYSMEA over four years by the Environmental Resource Monitoring Foundation (ERM.) Over 10 schools, and groups such as the SPLASH, the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, The Great South Bay Buddies and most recently Long Island Sierra Club have been active in the program. Over 400 data set entries have been made by these groups, each representing a trip to the Reserve by a group of dedicated environmental stewards. Long Island Sierra has begun a new program, modeled after sSELF, called the Sentinels which has expanded the program islandwide.
To join the program sSELF Program, contact sSELF@NYSMEA.org
Learn more about the Schools Involved
Lou Siegel, Estuary Learning Facilitator and Rob Weltner, President of SPLASH measure the oxygen concentration in the water.
Captain Don Harris, SPLASH Vice President and our Captain for the day takes a reading of the wind speed and direction, air temperature and humidity of the air.
Maureen Dolan-Murphy Chair of the SSER CAC teams up with Gwen Lerner of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District to assess the phosphate level of a water sample.
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