Community News


Student Clean Water Projects Presented at Stony Brook


70 Middle School finalists in a contest to develop projects aimed at reducing water contamination on Long Island will go to college to have their projects judged and hear a lecture from Stony Brook scientist Dr. Christopher Gobler.


The students, aged 11-14 developed clever and colorful table-top projects and demonstrations aimed at informing Long Islanders about declining water quality on Long Island and what can be done to reverse the trend.


Long Island’s water comes from underground, so human activity on the surface introduces contaminants to both drinking water and surface water. The chief culprit is nitrogen from wastewater and fertilizer. The pollution has led to fish and turtle kills and closed beaches and shellfish beds.

Students will demonstrate their water quality improvement projects which involve limiting pesticide use, land and transportation use, better sewage treatment, returning toxic chemicals to local STOP centers and disposing of unused pharmaceuticals to collection points in Nassau and Suffolk counties.


The program is produced by the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, a non-profit environmental education and advocacy group that focuses on land preservation and water quality protection. It is funded by a grant from the National Grid Foundation.


“The next generation has a lot to teach its parents about preventing water contamination and protection of Long Island’s underground drinking water sources,” said Pine Barrens Society Executive Director, Richard Amper. “After all, our young people have inherited this mess and it’s up to all of us to reverse the growing threat,” he added.


Patchogue-Medford Librarian, Susan Sclafani, who has students presenting projects, said, “Working with the Pine Barrens Society on their Middle School Goes to College program has been empowering for my students. Not only are they learning about the dangers that face Long Island’s aquifers but they are educating others on how to solve these problems. They understand that bringing awareness to these issues can have immediate changes to their world.”


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