Are you looking for ways to make your yard eco-friendly? If so, join LISS partners this summer to learn more about what steps homeowners can take in their own yards to protect and improve Long Island waters! Focus topics will include smart fertilizer practices, water conservation, and native plantings.

Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and learn from featured experts from New York Sea Grant, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, and ReWild Long Island.

Register HERE or by clicking the flyer below. For more information email Jimena Perez-Viscasillas at [email protected].

The summer 2023 issue of Sound Update focuses on Long Island Sound Study’s Year in Review of 2022. It includes information on the latest round of Long Island Sound Futures Fund projects, and stories on some of the work advanced in 2022, including the expansion of the Sound Stewards educational program into NYC, the restoration of the Great Meadows Marsh in Connecticut, and the ongoing work to protect and restore eelgrass populations in the Sound. The publication also includes some words from LISS program director Mark Tedesco, who shares information on the first round of projects supported by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds.

Contact: Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, [email protected]

Stony Brook, NY (April 13, 2023):  The Long Island Sound Study (LISS) national estuary program is working with the social science research firm Responsive Management to assess the needs, concerns, and challenges facing underserved populations and vulnerable communities related to their coastal environments. The project is being led by New York Sea Grant on behalf of the LISS, in partnership with Connecticut Sea Grant and the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).

The project team will be holding a series of conversations with community leaders across Connecticut, and Long Island Sound-adjacent counties in New York State (the Bronx, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester). The exchanges will inform the development of a survey to be administered widely across the region and will focus on local challenges and needs concerning Long Island Sound and its surrounding environment.

The conversations and survey results will identify opportunities for the LISS to adapt its implementation strategies to meet local needs. The results will also help guide the development of the Long Island Sound Community Impact Fund (LISCIF), a new grants program run by Restore America’s Estuaries that will provide financial and technical support to community groups working on local environmental health projects and capacity-building.

In 2019, a small group of LISS partners began exploring and outlining steps to better apply environmental justice principles in the program’s implementation, and an official Environmental Justice Work Group was formed in 2020. One of the necessary steps identified by the team was to determine how the program could better serve its constituents who are members of underserved communities. The work group further identified a need to engage more with smaller community-based groups to better respond to their coastal-related needs and objectives. 

The EJ needs assessment is part of a greater ongoing effort from the LISS program and its partners to better connect with the communities in their region, make its programming more relevant and accessible to underserved populations, and enable easier participation in the program’s decision-making process. The project began its exploratory phase in late winter 2023 and is set to begin with community conversations through the spring and summer months and conclude sometime in the fall.  

For more information on Long Island Sound Study, visit

For more information on New York Sea Grant, visit

Local estuary programs partner for their 5th annual celebration of estuaries-the special places where rivers meet the sea.

Estuaries are bodies of water at the intersection of rivers and the ocean – where freshwater and saltwater meet and mix. Because of their unique chemistry and characteristics, they are hugely important ecosystems that provide food, shelter, and nursery grounds for countless species of plants and animals. Many, like the Long Island Sound estuary, are also close to major cities and help support local economies through tourism, transportation of goods, and more.

National Estuaries Week (September 17 -24, 2022) celebrates these unique ecosystems, brings awareness to their importance, and encourages their conservation.

This year, Long Island’s estuary programs – the Long Island Sound Study national estuary program, the Peconic Estuary Partnership (PEP), and the South Shore Estuary Reserve – are celebrating by sharing a National Estuaries Week 2022 Map. The interactive map highlightings upcoming September opportunities to head outside and engage in coastal cleanups, educational events, and more.

National Estuaries Week kicks off Saturday, September 17 with International Coastal Cleanup Day. Hosted in New York by the American Littoral Society and by Save the Sound in Connecticut, the cleanups bring thousands of volunteers to the shore annually to help pick up debris and collect valuable data on the types of trash found on beaches. Interested volunteers can access the map to find a cleanup near them, or even organize their own beach clean-up anytime from September through to December.

In addition to the events map, the local estuary programs will also be attending several of the upcoming highlighted events to share information about their respective estuaries. Find Long Island Sound Study’s booth at Setauket Harbor Day, the Women’s Fishing Expo, Family Fun Day, the Oyster Festival, Viva la Sound, and more.

National Estuaries Week 2022 Map

This Google Earth map was created to promote environmental education and stewardship events around our local estuaries. Yellow pins mark events, blue pins mark beach clean-ups. Click on the pins to learn more about events happening near you!

Happy National Estuaries Week!

Diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) are the only aquatic turtle that lives in brackish waters (a mix of fresh and saltwater). Special glands around its eyes let it flush out excess salt from its body, similarly to sea turtles. While their main habitat is brackish water, they are able to venture out into freshwater and saltwater and can survive in a wide range of salinity levels, a useful adaptation for life in a constantly-changing estuary.

There are seven subspecies of diamondback terrapin; the one that calls Long Island Sound home is the Northern diamondback terrapin which can be found all the way from Cape Cod in Massachusetts down to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. Other subspecies can be found all along the eastern coast south to Florida and around the Gulf Coast through Texas.

Diamondback terrapins owe their name to the diamond-like rings on the scutes (plates) of their shell. Their scutes are made of keratin (like our fingernails) and each terrapin’s ring pattern is unique to them (like our fingerprints are to us). Females tend to be larger and have shorter tails than males, with a male’s carapace (shell) growing up to 5 1/2 inches long and a female’s up to 9 inches.

Terrapins can live 25 to 40 years in the wild, making them one of the longest-living animals in our region. They live most of their life in water, only leaving it to bask or to nest. They can be spotted poking their heads out of the water in tidal marshes or basking in the sun near mud flats and creek banks.

Diamondback terrapins mate during the early spring months and females come ashore to lay their eggs in sandy areas like beaches and dunes between May and July. They can travel quite a way inland in search for the perfect location to dig their nest, crossing streets in coastal areas (so remember to drive especially carefully around coastal zones during the summer months).

Once a terrapin has found a location for its nest, it will dig a hole around 4 to 8 inches deep using its hind legs, lay its eggs (4-15) and cover the nest with debris and pebbles.

Like in most turtle species, a diamondback terrapin’s sex is determined by the temperature of its nest. Cooler nests tend to have more males while warmer nests produce more females.


Back in the day, these turtles were plentiful and a common item in everyday diet for many people in the East and South Coast of the US. Around the 18th and 19th century, their popularity boomed as terrapin soup became a widespread culinary delicacy, and their numbers plummeted. Fortunately, because sherry was one of the main ingredients in terrapin soup, people mostly stopped eating it during the Prohibition in 1920 – 1933, which helped terrapin populations bounce back. Check out this article from NPR to learn more.

Harvesting terrapins is no longer legal in most of the US, including New York and Connecticut, and many protections are in place to protect them. However, terrapins still face threats.

Highly developed coastlines mean terrapins have less nesting habitat, forcing females to cross dangerous roads in their search. Nests are also predated on by raccoons, foxes, and skunks, and hatchlings are often predated by birds on their way to the water. Diamondback terrapins are also threatened by collisions with boats and by getting trapped in crab cages and drowning.

Diamondback terrapin. Photo by Matthew Draud, C.W. Post-l.i.u.

What You Can Do

  • Drive your boat carefully around tidal marshes, where terrapins might be swimming near the surface, and keep your eyes peeled for their heads peeking from the water.
  • Drive your car carefully along coastal roads, especially during the summer months when females might be around! If you spot a terrapin crossing the road, grab it carefully by the carapace (shell) and move it to the side of the road where it was headed.
  • If you spot a female nesting, stay away. Spooking a nesting female by getting too close may drive her to abandon her nest.
  • Help monitor for terrapins and identify potentially dangerous crossing zones by reporting any sightings! You can do so for Long Island through Terrapin Watch and in Connecticut through Terrapin Tracker or the iNaturalist app.

The spring 2022 issue of Sound Update focuses on Long Island Sound Study’s Year in Review of 2021. Various clean water, habitat restoration, education, and science projects from Connecticut and New York are highlighted, including the new Long Island Sound Marine Debris Action Plan, Community Science Long Island 2021, and the latest findings on hypoxia in the Sound.

… and accepting 2022 applications from 5th—12th-grade educators interested in leading workshops!

Teachers explored using mobile apps for education on the field at the 2019 Mentor Teacher Program in Sands Point Preserve.  Credit: Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, NYSG/LISS.


Jimena B. Perez-Viscasillas
Long Island Sound Study NY Outreach Coordinator
New York Sea Grant
[email protected]

Lillit Genovesi
Long Island Sound Study NYC and Western Basin Outreach Coordinator
New York Sea Grant
[email protected]

STONY BROOK AND QUEENS, NY (March 7, 2022): On a chilly October morning in 2019, teachers Amy Olander and Veronica Morabito-Weeks excitedly set up oyster tanks and put model-making materials like aluminum trays and sponges over tables at the Cedar Beach Nature Center in Mount Sinai. They were getting ready to host their very first Mentor Teacher Workshop on nitrogen pollution, where they would later share with fellow teachers some of the interactive activities, games, and lessons they used in their own classrooms to teach their students about Long Island Sound. The weekend after that, educators Hildur Palsdottir and Leah Master held their workshop on plot studies at the Sands Point Nature Preserve, where they led fellow teachers on a walking tour of the grounds, tested the sand for microplastics, and tried out different kinds of portable microscopes together. These fun workshops would be the last of their kind in a while for the Long Island Sound (LIS) Mentor Teacher Program, which like many other in-person programs had to take a hiatus during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021. 

This year, the LIS Mentor Teacher Program is back and accepting applications from 5th to 12th-grade educators interested in leading workshops for 2022! — see our “Call for Mentor Teachers” (pdf).

Hosted by New York Sea Grant and the Long Island Sound Study national estuary program, the LIS Mentor Teacher Program provides technical and financial support to selected pairs of teachers to organize professional development workshops for their peers. The hands-on interdisciplinary workshops include a field component and center around Long Island Sound topics, with past workshops covering geology, water quality, marine debris, and more.  

The 2022 LIS Mentor Teacher Program is encouraging topics centered around climate change adaptations, sea-level rise, and ecological health. Three pairs of educators will be selected to conduct one workshop per team and will be given a $1,200 stipend per teacher, a travel budget, and a workshop budget to cover materials, location, etc. New York teachers across Queens, the Bronx, Westchester, and Long Island are encouraged to apply! 

Teachers can look forward to joining these workshops in the Fall. Ultimately, the lessons, activities, and programs shared during these workshops will help inspire students throughout New York to explore, understand, and take care of the amazing resources Long Island Sound has to offer.

For more information on the LIS Mentor Teacher Program, contact Outreach Coordinators Jimena Perez-Viscasillas ([email protected]) and Lillit Genovesi ([email protected]), or visit

2019 Mentor teachers Veronica Morabito-Weeks (far right) and Amy Olander (far left) lead an exercise on how to make models to demonstrate the effects of rain on permeable vs impervious surfaces. Credit: Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, NYSG/LISS.
Teachers huddle around a table to view microplastics through different kinds of portable microscopes at the 2019 LIS Mentor Teacher Workshop led by Leah Master (left, in pink) and Hildur Palsdottir (right, in plaid). Credit: Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, NYSG/LISS.
2019 Mentor Teacher and fellow educator explore apps as tools for teaching on the field. Credit: Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, NYSG/LISS.
Models built by teachers at the 2019 Mentor Teacher program at Cedar Beach focused on nitrogen pollution. Credit: Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, NYSG/LISS.


Emily Hall
Conservation Policy Advocate
Seatuck Environmental Association
[email protected]
(631) 581-6908

Islip, NY (June 15, 2021)- The Long Island Coastal Bioblitz is an event to engage the Long Island community in exploring all of the island’s incredible habitats and species diversity. Hosted in partnership with Seatuck Environmental Association, Long Island Sound Study, Peconic Estuary Partnership, South Shore Estuary Reserve, New York Sea Grant, and the Long Island Invasive Species Management Area, one of the main goals of the bioblitz is to better understand the ecological community and biodiversity around Long Island. This information can guide environmental groups in better preserving important habitats and wildlife.

A bioblitz is a community science effort to record as many species as possible within a designated location and time period. The Long Island Coastal Bioblitz will be held “virtually,” allowing participants to record their observations using the iNaturalist app. All a participant would need to do is take a picture of any species they are looking at, plant or animal, load it into the iNaturalist app, and the species will automatically be added to the Long Island Coastal Bioblitz!

A training webinar will be provided on June 23rd at 7:00 pm to introduce participants to the iNaturalist app and the bioblitz format. Attendance is not mandatory to participate in the bioblitz but it is highly recommended. Registration for this webinar is required, and participants can register here: The Long Island Coastal Bioblitz will then take place from June 26th to July 3rd. Anyone can participate using the iNaturalist app and by logging into the Long Island Coastal Bioblitz iNaturalist project page ( A map of suggested locations to observe wildlife, as well as a list of habitats and species you may observe in those locations, will be provided to bioblitz participants. There will also be prizes for participants who log the most observations over the week-long event!

For more information on this project, please visit our LI Coastal Bioblitz webpage or email [email protected]


The spring 2021 issue of Sound Update focuses on Long Island Sound Study’s Year in Review of 2020. Various clean water, habitat restoration, education, and science projects from Connecticut and New York are highlighted.

Earth Day was founded 51 years ago today. Thousands of people across the nation came together to demand clean air and water and a healthy environment in a movement that by the end of 1970, led to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency and a host of environmental laws. In 1990, Earth Day then became an international celebration when 200 million people across 141 countries spoke up together about global environmental issues. To celebrate the week of the 51st Earth Day, below is a list of environmental events happening around the Sound.

Cedar Beach at Sunset. Mount Sinai, NY. (Image credit: Olivia del Vecchio)

Bronx River Alliance – Earth Week 2021:

Give back to Mother Earth from Monday, April 19 through Saturday, April 24 with DIY and other activities at your favorite Bronx River parks. On Thursday, volunteer to help clean up the Starlight Park from 10am-12pm. Sign up here!

Tune in via social media at noon on Friday for trivia night and learn about Earth Day history, key players in the environmental movement, and some not-so-fun facts about the environment. Click here for the zoom link. Finally, on Saturday, join a family-friendly day full of activities at Starlight Park from 10am to 2pm. Sign up and register here!

Earthplace – 28 Days of Earth Day:

This year, Earthplace will be celebrating Earth Day for 28 days! Learn what environmental, social and corporate governance investing means during a free virtual event on April 22nd. Click this link to sign up!

In the evening on the 22nd, Earthplace will also be hosting a Nature Trivia to test your knowledge. On April 24th, join us at Earth Animal in Westport for a presentation on Birds of Prey from 11am – 2pm. There are 28 days of activities and you can click here to view them all!

Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor – Scudder’s Pond Cleanup:

The outflow of Scudder’s Pond goes directly to Hempstead Harbor.  Keeping the pond free of plastic and other debris will prevent this trash from entering the harbor, spoiling our beaches, and harming wildlife. On April 24th, between 9am – 11am, Celebrate Earth Day by joining friends and neighbors for our spring pond cleanup! Bring gloves, 3-pronged rakes, a bucket for trash collecting, and wearing boots and long pants are strongly suggested. Meet at the Shore Road entrance of the pond. Parking is available at Tappen Beach. Call 516-801-6792 if you have any questions! 

Mystic Aquarium – Earth Day Celebration:

Celebrate Earth Day learning all about how you can help conserve our planet. Build your very own boat out of recycled materials, provided by Mystic Aquarium, and race down our Marsh Trek stream to see who has the fastest boat! The winner will receive a gift card from Deviant Donuts. The event will take place April 22nd from 11am – 2pm at Mystic Aquarium, CT. Click here for more information.

Also on April 22nd, from 6:30pm – 7:15pm via zoom, join our Director of Education & Conservation for cocktails (or mocktails) and conversations with members of the Aquarium team as we explore the conservation efforts that support the Aquarium’s mission.  Click here to register.

Lastly, on April 24th 12pm – 4pm we are calling all teens to the Bluff Point State Park, Groton, CT!  Join Mystic Aquarium’s teen Youth Conservation Corps volunteers in a day at the beach. Generously funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, this event provides teens the opportunity to learn about the impacts of marine debris and plastics on marine inhabitants and what young adults can do to protect the world’s oceans. Register here!

The Nature Conservancy – Earth Day Events:

On April 22nd at 12pm, join The Nature Conservancy in celebrating the environmental changemakers among us. Co-hosted by CEO Jennifer Morris and Chief Scientist Katharine Hayhoe, this free virtual event will feature innovative, inspiring leaders from across the globe who are making our world a place where people and nature thrive together. You’ll learn something new, gain a little hope for our future and have some fun as we blend Q&As with fun celebrity shout-outs and a musical performance by Singer, Songwriter & Activist Aloe Blacc. Register here to join the celebration!

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