The first New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards are now at public boat launch sites along Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake and the Salmon River.
The six stewards are participating in a nationwide campaign educating boaters about how to inspect their vessels to help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Boaters in New York State participate in the inspections voluntarily.
One of the 2012 New York Sea Grant Launch Stewards is Julia Gilbert of Phoenix. She is a sophomore at SUNY Canton. She is majoring in engineering science with an interest in alternative energy and the environment.
New York Sea Grant Community Development Specialist Mary Penney, based at SUNY Oswego, leads the environment-focused workforce development initiative.
“This type of ‘in-the-environment’ employment is a great way for students to gain valuable experience through public interaction and education opportunities,” said Penney.
“They research a chosen aquatic invasive species topic and prepare a public information program and materials. They also engage citizens one-on-one on timely, need-to-know issues of local interest.”
The stewards’ observations and documentation of aquatic invasive species is useful to local resource managers and such organizations and agencies as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The students’ career aspirations include becoming environmental resource managers, marine biologists, and teachers.