Protecting & Restoring Long Island's Peconic Bays

Education & Outreach Programs

Citizen science programs, events and educational materials for all ages.

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.

Resources for Educators

PEP has created fun and educational worksheets, activities and pamphlets for educators to use for their students and parents to use for their kids! Visit our Resources for Educators page to view all of PEP’s English and Spanish material.

Search here for educational Digital Brochures

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. PEP is also happy to provide a lesson on an estuary-related topic to your students. Whether out in the field or on the grounds of your school, we are happy to discuss and implement ideas that fit best into your curriculum.

Citizens’ Advisory Committee

Join the Peconic Estuary Partnership’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 Partnership provides many opportunities for you to get involved by attending an educational event or volunteering through our ongoing programs.

Diamondback Terrapin Monitoring

Diamondback Terrapin

Diamondback Terrapin. Photo: Juliana Duryea

The Peconic Estuary Partnership 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 threatened. 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 and their nesting habitat. 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 Long Island Diamondback Terrapin Watch Online Survey that allows you to document your sightings of terrapins and evidence of their activity through your phone or computer. This online survey will collect substantial terrapin data across Long Island that will be useful and beneficial for all environmental groups. Training workshops will be scheduled before the monitoring season that runs May-August.

*Partners that would like to host their own monitoring workshops for their networks and to increase outreach efforts, please reach out to PEP Education and Outreach Coordinator, Lauren Scheer at ls893@cornell.edu so we can provide you with the powerpoint and help tailor the presentation to your organization.

*Partners that would like to begin their own intensive monitoring program at a specific site of interest to contribute to the Diamondback Terrapin Watch online survey, feel free to reach out to Lauren Scheer at ls893@cornell.edu so we can help you get started.

6/5/2020 Terrapin Monitoring Workshop Resources:

Watch the Zoom Recording of the Terrapin Monitoring Workshop 6/5/2020 

Presentation – Long Island Diamondback Terrapin Monitoring Workshop 6/5/2020

Outreach “Mini-Field Guide” Flyer:

Seatuck’s Diamondback Terrapin Mini Field Guide 

Terrapin Monitoring Progress Map and Online Survey:

View Seatuck’s map of terrapin sightings around Long Island

Input your sightings at the Diamondback Terrapin Watch Online Survey

Terrapin Excluder Devices “TEDs” Required Areas for all non-collapsible crab pots or traps:

NYSDEC’s “TED” Interactive Map

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring, Squires Pond 2017

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring, Squires Pond 2017

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 Partnership is part of the Horseshoe Crab 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. 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.

 

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!

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

 

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


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