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Celebrate Shinnecock Bay at an Event Hosted by the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program and the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons

Celebration will include a reception and an interactive educational experience led by scientists and students from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University.

Southampton, NY, August 16, 2013– On Sunday, August 25 at 11:30 am, the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program (ShiRP), an initiative of Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), will partner with the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons to offer a public educational event that will raise awareness of the Church’s concern for and stewardship of the environment, and of Shinnecock Bay and the efforts to restore it. The general public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The event will feature educational activities such as touch tanks and shellfish experiments, as well as a brief talk by one of the program’s lead scientists. Students and project staff will be on hand to interact with the public, showcase life in the bay, and explain their research efforts to understand and restore the bay.

Dr. Ellen Pikitch, a professor at SoMAS and executive director of its Institute for Ocean Conservation Science, who is co-principal investigator of the ShiRP program, will give an overview of the project.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with our community, and are pleased that the Greek Orthodox Church is interested in partnering and wants to recognize and support our work in Shinnecock Bay,” said Dr. Pikitch. “The church has an impressive tradition of sensitivity and concern for the natural environment and has enacted many successful international and inter-faith programs in environmental education and stewardship.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for our church to cooperate with the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program, raising awareness about some of the problems with Shinnecock Bay, and what we can do to help rectify the situation,” said Father Constantine Lazarakis. “As people of faith, it is our responsibility to care for the environment.”

The Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program is an effort through Stony Brook University to balance, restore and protect Shinnecock Bay, which has been negatively affected by harmful algal blooms, chemical inputs, and reduced shellfish populations. ShiRP marine biologists assess the causes of impaired water quality, and work to understand the impacts to the ecosystem’s species and habitats. They have carefully crafted a plan to replenish native shellfish and eelgrass meadows in the bay, and will monitor improvements in water quality and fish populations as the restoration progresses.

Community members are welcome at this event, which will take place rain or shine. Refreshments will be served. For more information about this event, please visit http://shinnecockbay.org/news-events/events.html or contact Christine Santora, ShiRP Coordinator at Christine.Santora@stonybrook.edu.

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The Greek Orthodox Church’s annual day of observation toward the natural environment dates back to1992, when Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whose environmental conservation initiatives have earned him the title of The Green Patriarch, led the worldwide church in formally endorsing September 1st as a day of universal prayer and thanksgiving for the natural environment.

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