Protecting & Restoring Long Island's Peconic Bays

Education & Outreach Programs

Citizen science programs, events and educational materials for all ages. Explore what PEP has to offer.

Children looking at marine life caught in a seine net.

Upcoming Events Calendar

Our community and visitors play an active role in the PEP by supporting, promoting and participating in efforts to protect this not so hidden gem on the East End. To view our upcoming events, visit our calendar of events. Never miss a volunteer opportunity by joining our mailing list and by following us on Facebook.

Citizens’ Advisory Committee

Join the Peconic Estuary Program’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee, an important part of the PEP Management Conference. Get updates on the projects that are being implemented in our bays and learn how you can be involved to improve water quality, wildlife habitat, and coastal resiliency. As a member, you’ll help us spread public awareness of the estuary while advising the PEP about important goals and concerns of the citizens of Long Island’s East End. It is a unified effort to protect and restore the Peconic Estuary, and we want you to be a part of the conversation! Visit the CAC page for more information.

Citizen Science Opportunities

The Peconic Estuary Program provides many opportunities for you to get involved by attending an educational event or volunteering through our ongoing programs.

Watch video in Spanish: https://vimeo.com/242641442

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring

Each spring, Atlantic Horseshoe Crabs, Limulus polyphemus, come to shore during the new and full moon high tide in the evening to spawn. The Peconic Estuary Program is part of the Horseshoe Crab

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring, Squires Pond 2017

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring, Squires Pond 2017

Monitoring Network hosting a monitoring site at Squires Pond at the end of East Landing Road in Hampton Bays. Volunteers are encouraged to come learn about horseshoe crab biology and get a hands on experience helping scientists learn more about the population by measuring size and tagging used to assess the status of horseshoe crabs in NY State, and will help determine the management and conservation of this important species.

Monitoring runs from May through June. You can join one event, attend multiple or become a site coordinator.

To learn more, visit the New York Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Network website.

Alewife Monitoring

Each spring Alewife return from the sea to our coastal bays and rivers to spawn in freshwater. This species plays an important role in the estuary food web as it is the prey of many species including the osprey and predatory fish including striped-bass and bluefish. The PEP partners with Seatuck Environmental Association each year for the Alewife Monitoring Survey. Learn how you can help monitor the arrival of these fish for spring spawning season by attending a workshop. Workshops are held at the end of February and in March at multiple locations. For more information visit Seatuck Environmental Association’s alewife monitoring website.

Diamondback Terrapin Monitoring

Diamondback Terrapin

Diamondback Terrapin. Photo: Juliana Duryea

The Peconic Estuary Program began a Diamondback Terrapin Monitoring program in 2017 for the East End. This volunteer-based program surveys areas of salt marsh for terrapin activity to determine where their nesting habitat is located. The diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) is the only turtle native to Long Island’s salt marshes. Since they were once harvested as a delicacy without regulation, their populations plummeted causing the species to be listed as vulnerable. Although harvesting has not been of top concern in recent years, land development and shoreline hardening have become major threats. The PEP’s monitoring program is in collaboration with Friends of Flax Pond, The Jamaica Bay Terrapin Research Project, and Seatuck Environmental Association to gain an island-wide understanding of terrapin populations. Through these monitoring programs, we gain data that can help guide decision-making for shoreline resiliency, conservation management and land-use planning. Like with many projects, working together as a community will help move along these efforts. Seatuck Environmental Association developed the Terrapin Watch – Survey 123 App that allows you to document your terrapin monitoring data through your phone or computer. Training workshops will be scheduled before the monitoring season that runs May-August.

Environmental groups are encouraged to lead monitoring programs at sites around the East End to contribute to the terrapin monitoring database. If interested, please contact the Peconic Estuary Program at peptalk@peconicestuary.org.

Fishing Line Recycling Program

Fishing Line Receptacle Workshop, 2016

Fishing Line Receptacle Workshop, 2016

Excess fishing line is one of the most common a deadliest forms of marine trash to wildlife. While the transparency of fishing line is ideal for catching unsuspecting fish, that same feature makes it near impossible to marine life to avoid it when discarded into our waterways. Animals can become entangled and even ingest the fishing line causing harm and frequently death.

During a workshop in December 2016, volunteers assembled 16 fishing line receptacles to be placed around the Peconic Estuary to help combat plastic marine debris. Monofilament (single stranded fishing line) can be discarded into fishing line receptacles to be collected by PEP staff and volunteers, quantified, and sent to the Berkley Fishing Line Company to be recycled. In the future, PEP will aim to install additional fishing line receptacles to collect braided fishing line, which due to its composition of multiple plastics, is not easily recycled. Collecting braided fishing line is still important and disposing of the material properly will help keep it out of our waterways.

Check out PEP’s fishing line receptacle map to find out where you can recycle your fishing line both from PEP receptacles and partner locations. Know of a receptacle not on the map? Let PEP know so we can include it!

Schools

If you are interested in conducting an estuary-based project with your class or after school group, please  Contact PEP’s Outreach Coordinator to make arrangements. Whether out in the field or on the grounds of your school, we are happy to discuss and implement project ideas that fit best into your curriculum.

Targeted Education Efforts to Protect the Peconic Estuary

Best Management Practices to be a “Peconic Friendly Citizen”
Fertilizer reduction and elimination
Proper disposal of hazardous waste
Stormwater pollution reduction
Responsible boating

Resources for Educators

The PEP has created puzzles, worksheets, a scavenger hunt and kid’s booklets for educators to use in the classroom to teach about the environment. Visit our Resources for Educators page to view all of PEP’s English and Spanish material for kids.

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