New Educational StoryMap and Webinar: A Virtual Tour of Long Island Sound Habitats

This teacher webinar was hosted by New York Sea Grant, Connecticut Sea Grant, and the Long Island Sound Study to provide information about a newly developed StoryMap centered around LIS habitats. This new educational tool is designed to provide students a digital look into some of our local habitats and is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. Read on for more information, access to the StoryMap, accompanying resources, and the 2021 webinar recording.


The LIS Habitat StoryMap features seven habitats found in the Long Island Sound watershed:

  • Coastal grasslands
  • Salt Marshes
  • Beaches
  • Rocky Intertidal
  • Tidal Flats
  • Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Beds
  • Open Water

Each habitat section contains general information, photo and video examples from New York and Connecticut, a discussion of habitat threats, and images of some of the plants and animals that inhabit each habitat. In addition, each section includes an original video from local environmental professionals highlighting phenomena observed there, as well as a potential educational activity for students, and additional educational resources to explore the habitat more in-depth.

The StoryMap also contains a glossary with relevant terms found throughout the tool and a conclusion section with links for students to explore how they can get involved in protecting local habitats.

Click below to explore the LIS Habitat StoryMap!

There are two versions of this StoryMap: the Student Version and the Teacher Version. The main differences between them are that the Student Version contains information in a simple, bulleted format, and the Teacher Version contains more extensive information as well as linkages to NGSS. Note: the NGSS links contained in the StoryMap are for a middle school grade level. For elementary and high school NGSS, see the additional resources section below.

Have you used this resource in your teaching? Tell us about it! Hearing back from educators and teachers about how they’ve used this resource is hugely appreciated as it helps our partners measure community impacts and improve future tools. If you would like to share with us how you’ve used this resource, CLICK HERE

StoryMap Walk-through and Expert Panel Q&A

This teacher webinar included a walk-through of the StoryMap tool led by interns Nicole Govert (CTSG) and Charlotte Burger (NYSG), break-out groups for discussion and exploration of the StoryMap among attendees, and a Q&A with some of the experts who contributed videos and images to the project. The recording includes everything except the break-out groups.

This webinar was originally held on August 19, 2021 and was facilitated by Diana Payne (CTSG), Jimena Perez-Viscasillas (NYSG), Nicole Govert (intern, CTSG), and Charlotte Burger (intern, NYSG). It was hosted by CTSG, NYSG, and the Long Island Sound Study.

Featured Expert Panelists:

Juliana Barrett, University of Connecticut Sea Grant College Program and the Department of Extension

Juliana Barrett is with the University of Connecticut Sea Grant College Program and the Department of Extension. Her work focuses on climate change adaptation and coastal habitat management working with Connecticut’s municipalities, NGO’s and state and federal partners. Prior to coming to Sea Grant in 2006 she worked with CT DEEP on management plans for state natural areas and for The Nature Conservancy as the Director of the Connecticut River Tidelands Last Great Places Program. She has a doctorate in plant ecology from the University of Connecticut and is a co-author of the Vegetation of Connecticut and Salt Marsh Plants of Long Island Sound.

Dr. Joshua Idjadi, Eastern Connecticut State University

Dr. Idjadi is a community ecologist focused on the causes of coral reef decline and recovery. He and his students have conducted research in French Polynesia, Jamaica, and most recently, the Bahamas. Currently, his lab is focused on the feeding behavior of reef herbivores and how habitat and diet influence the gut microbe community in herbivorous fish.  Dr. Idjadi teaches marine ecology focusing on CT and New England coasts.  Before coming to Eastern, Dr. Idjadi was a post-doctoral fellow at the New England Aquarium and taught Ecology as an adjunct faculty member at Brown University.

Sue Merrow, Former Chair of CT’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)

Susan Merrow is a retired environmental activist with a specialty in public policy.  Over the past four decades, she has served two three-year terms on the National Board of Directors of the Sierra Club, one year as its President. She was appointed by two different Governors of Connecticut to the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, serving for four years as its Chair.  She was elected to six two-year terms as the First Selectmen of the Town of East Haddam.  She also served as a Board member of the Connecticut River Watershed Council (now called the Connecticut River Conservancy), the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, and the Eightmile River Wild and Scenic Coordinating Committee.  She currently lives in Tenants Harbor, Maine, with her husband Arthur, where she volunteers with the local nature center.

Roger Wolfe, CT DEEP, Wetland Habitat and Mosquito Management

Roger Wolfe is a Wetland Restoration Biologist and Coordinator for the Wetland Habitat and Mosquito Management (WHAMM) Program, Connecticut Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Bureau of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division.  He has 35 years as an Environmental Scientist working in mosquito control and coastal wetland management and restoration; 12 years with the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife and 23 years with CT DEEP. His career has focused on coastal wetlands developing and promoting Integrated Marsh Management (IMM) which incorporates wetland restoration, wildlife habitat enhancement, salt marsh mosquito control, invasive plant management, and coastal resiliency.  He has also been involved in several inland impoundment and streambank stabilization projects.

Dr. Roman Zajac, University of New Haven

Roman Zajac is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology and Environmental Science, at the University of New Haven. Dr. Zajac’s research has focused on both deep-water and intertidal soft sediment, benthic communities and in particular how natural and human-caused disturbances can affect these communities and their recovery. He has also conducted extensive research on salt marshes and how their fauna are being impacted by various types of climate change including sea-level rise and global warming.  More recently, his research is addressing biodiversity patterns on tropical patch reefs, and how increases in macroalgal cover may be affecting fish communities that use batteries as habitat. He has published over 70 scientific papers and over 100 technical reports as well as other scientific products. His work has been funded by a variety of international, national, and non-governmental agencies.

Additional Resources and Information

Next Generation Science Standards

The StoryMap is aimed at a middle school audience and paired with NGSS for that grade level. However, it can be enjoyed by everyone and adapted for all grade levels. Click below for suggested NGSS for elementary school and high school that could also be aligned with this educational resource.


While we don’t have audio clips currently available for the StoryMap text, many devices offer accessibility options for those needing the StoryMap read aloud. Click on the buttons below for guides on how to turn on these settings in selected devices.

Project Background

This project came together as an adaptation of the Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher (LISMT) program to the coronavirus pandemic. In lieu of in-person workshops through LISMT, funds usually provided by the Long Island Sound Study for this program were reallocated to support two interns – one in NY and one in CT – in the development of an educational tool for LIS watershed educators.

This StoryMap tool was developed by Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG) intern Nicole Govert and New York Sea Grant (NYSG) intern Charlotte Burger, with supervision from UConn Associate Professor and CTSG Education Coordinator Diana Payne and NYSG LISS Outreach Coordinator Jimena Perez-Viscasillas. Govert recently completed her Masters degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Ecology at the University of New Haven. Her research interests focus on using GIS techniques to spatially analyze benthic community patterns in Long Island Sound. Burger is a senior at Barnard College, where she is pursuing a Bachelors degree in Environment and Sustainability.

Questions? Comments? Email Jimena Perez-Viscasillas at [email protected] or Diana Payne at [email protected] for more information!

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