Citizen Opportunities for Accessing Science Training on the Sound (COASTS)
Through the support of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund, University of New Haven faculty have created a Long Island Sound stewardship program to provide marine environmental education opportunities to members of the community.
Protect Our 'Blue Backyard'
We are looking for 20 community members, a diverse group of residents from New Haven and West Haven who are at least 16 years old, to be trained as “COASTers.” Those selected will take part in a three-month comprehensive training course taught by experts to become acquainted with field skills and techniques for understanding the ecology, water quality, flora, and fauna of Long Island Sound. Participants will also learn the human dimensions of coastal management and how to discuss conservation, policy, and science with the general public.
Our newly trained citizen scientists will then apply their knowledge in educating their communities about our “blue backyard” through a series of community events and two professional development workshops for 50 local schoolteachers.
These interactive programs will be held along Long Island Sound, field sites and the Canal Dock Boathouse in New Haven, and will focus on the science and conservation of the Long Island Sound watershed. A year-end conference will be held to review lessons learned, successes, and challenges as well as provide recommendations for future training sessions and community outreach events.
All costs for supplies and travel will be covered for those selected as COASTers.
Tenative Training Schedule - Summer 2022
Class sessions will take place weekly (in the evening) from June 20 to August 20. Field days (full day events outside at various local field sites) will take place on:
- June 25
- July 9
- July 24
- August 6
- August 20
Leading the COASTS program are University of New Haven faculty and staff members who are experts in ecosystems and ecology; oceanography and water quality; fish and other marine vertebrates, marine pollution and microplastics; and marine science education and outreach. The program will also be joined by experts from Mystic Aquarium and the National Audubon Society.
- Mary Ellen Mataleska, Director of Education and Conservation, Mystic Aquarium
- Alissa Dragan, State of Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture
- Gio Koch and Suan Long, Capital Region Education Council (CREC)
- Stephanie Fitzgerald, West River Watershed Coalition
COASTers who do not have a computer or access to the internet can apply to receive a Chromebook to use in class training sessions as well as internet access. At the conclusion of their service in our community events, COASTers who demonstrate financial need will be eligible for a $300 stipend. As an added incentive for our younger COASTers, five students who are selected for the program will be awarded three undergraduate credits to the University of New Haven.