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Local students participate in summer waterfront protection program

By SPENCER DAVIDSON

SYLVAN BEACH, N.Y. (WKTV) - Two students from Oneida-Madison County are participating in an environmental science initiative this summer.

Anthony Tornatore, of Canastota, and Jordan Bodway, of Sylvan Beach, are two of eight students working with the New York Sea Grant (NYSG) Launch Steward program.

The program is for college students who are interested in environmental science careers, and aims at educating boaters about the importance of preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The students will travel to bodies of water around the state, such as Lake Ontario from Sodus Bay to Henderson, the Oswego River, Salmon River, Sandy Creek, and others in order to demonstrate proper watercraft inspection.

The stewards are all volunteers who will inspect motorized and non-motorized boats in order to share the techniques used to clean, drain, and dry watercrafts in order to help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species such as European water chestnut, Hydrilla, waterfleas, European frog-bit, Asian clam, and rusty crayfish.

Tornatore is a senior at the College at Brockport and is studying environmental science. He aims to become an Environmental Conservation Officer.

"I am interested in working as a New York Sea Grant Launch Steward and helping to keep our lakes healthy for future generations,"he said. "The Steward program offers great learning experiences for both the stewards and the boaters who participate in the watercraft inspection demonstrations."

Bodway, a junior, currently studies at SUNY ESF in Syracuse, and is also studying environmental science.

"I am interested in protecting the integrity of our water resources," he said. "Working as a New York Sea Grant Launch Steward will provide me with valuable experience in public outreach through interacting with boaters and visitors to the launch areas about how they can help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species."

Both students, as well as the 6 others that are involved in the steward program have been trained directly by the New York Sea Grant, who wrote the New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Handbook for the Cornell University Statewide Invasive Species Outreach Program.

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