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The College of Staten Island has received a $25,000 grant from Con Edison to fund a program that will give underserved high school students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in researching estuarine water quality.

As a result of this generous funding, CSI’s Center for Environmental Science will expand its public education program by giving more than 100 underserved high school and junior high school student’s opportunities to pursue various aspects of environmental work through hands-on estuarine water quality workshops.

Con Edison Director of Public Affairs Mark Irving with CSI President Dr. Tomás Morales after the check presentation at the CSI Celestial Ball

Marilyn Caselli, Con Edison’s Senior Vice President of Customer Operations, said: “As an energy delivery company for the New York area, Con Edison is committed to our community and the environment. This grant allows us to showcase that commitment through the excellent work of the College of Staten Island and its public education programs. I am pleased that Island high school students will have this engaging, hands-on opportunity that will promote their connection to civic purpose and create the next generation of stewards of our environment.” Ms. Caselli is a member of the CSI Foundation Board.

Lab and Fieldwork Promote Understanding

In the fall, high school students from area schools will visit a CSI laboratory where chemists from the Interstate Environmental Commission (IEC) will join CSI faculty to demonstrate analytical techniques and explain the importance of quality control measures. Students will gain a background on water quality and policy issues that influence estuarine health and obtain a better understanding of the primary environmental factors affecting the New York Harbor Estuary. The Center’s field staff will provide an overview of the parameters routinely performed in IEC water quality monitoring surveys and explain their relevancy and importance in assessments of the Harbor Estuary.

All Hands on Deck

The following spring, the field component will give students hands-on experience with water quality monitoring and pollution issues. They will be able to apply their knowledge and learn water quality monitoring techniques via demonstrations of sampling equipment/instruments on the dock and on the IEC’s ship, the R/V Natale Colosi. The Center’s captain and field staff will highlight some key information about the estuarine system. Onshore and onboard students will observe as IEC field staff employ a number of techniques to characterize water quality.  Subsequently, field exercises will allow students to take their own series of measurements and observations.  Students will record all data on student field sheets, allowing further analysis of observations when returning to the classroom. After completion of field and ship-based activities, students will go to the CSI Geographic Information System (GIS) laboratory where they will record their findings and results.

Barbara Eshoo, CSI Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Relations said, “Thanks to Con Edison’s generosity and deep commitment to our College and community, CSI will be able to deliver a message to high school students and their educators that protecting, improving, and monitoring the estuary involves a comprehensive program of monitoring, sampling, analysis, and public education. Students will learn that they can help foster stewardship for the estuary by being a voice in their community via communicating and sharing what they learn about estuary issues in the workshops. Students will also gain an understanding of how estuary health impacts their lives, including food resources and recreational opportunities.”

In addition to its $25,000 in funding of this project, Con Edison has added $5,000 to its grant, which is earmarked for support of student scholarships at CSI.