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Teacher Workshop Educates New York Teachers At Stony Brook Southampton Campus

Despite the fact that many are located close to or on the water, many New York school

districts lack marine science education.

The lack of these programs inspired Christine Santora, assistant director of the Institute

for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, to contact the regional leader

for New York Master Teacher Program to help create a four-day immersive program to

give teachers in the program experience with marine science.

The program, hosted by Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric

Sciences, was offered to teachers in the Master Teacher program. The program, created

by Governor Andrew Cuomo, is an educational initiative designed to create a network of

experienced K-12 STEM teachers. Selected Master Teachers are able to participate in

professional development opportunities, such as the recent program at Stony Brook’s

Southampton Campus, and share their knowledge with fellow teachers in their home


The program was meant to educate the teachers of Long Island and upstate New York

about how the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program uses science to help restore water

quality, shellfish populations and eelgrass habitats through hands-on experience.

“They learned about specific species and habitats, learned how to measure water

quality, sampled fisheries, measured oyster growth and mortality, created shell bags for

our reefs, and used GIS to identify spatial trends based on data we collected,” Ms.

Santora said.

She proposed the idea for the program because of the lack of marine science education.

“I wanted to create a chance for science teachers to have access to the cutting-edge

research and applied science we undertake at SoMAS — both a state and global leader in marine science,” she said.

The program was successful, and 20 New York teachers now have a better

understanding of coastal restoration and conservation and how to educate their students

on “real-world phenomena, and how to design solutions to local environmental issues,”

said Ms. Santora.

“I was honored to meet and work with 20 of these teachers, and I am truly inspired by

their ideas, strategies, enthusiasm and motivation,” she said.

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