New York Conservation, Education and Research Grant for Nyack and NYC Partners

Dr. Peter Park, an associate professor of biology in Nyack College’s Department of Natural Sciences, recently shared that the College, in partnership with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and Randall’s Island Park Alliance, has received a grant, the first of its kind, from the New York State Marine and Coastal District of New York Conservation, Education and Research Small Grants Program, organized by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York Sea Grant. Their grant of $14,986 was one of six grants awarded from a pool of $74,000 in funds provided through the annual fee that drivers pay for the special Marine and Coastal District NY State license plates, which feature the striped bass and the Montauk Lighthouse.

Dr. Park explained, “As co-leaders of the project, Isa Del Bello (Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy), Christopher Girgenti (Randall’s Island Park Alliance), and I seek to enhance understanding, awareness, and monitoring efforts of East River fish diversity through citizen science. The East River is a thriving marine ecosystem in the heart of New York City, and this work will aim to achieve three pivotal goals: (1) To create a fish diversity database from angling and seining data for the East River, with continuous contributions from multiple environmental educational organizations. (2) To establish conservation-minded beginners-level angling clinics at Brooklyn Bridge Park and World’s Fair Marina, as well as intermediate-level angling clinics at Randall’s Island Park, all with a primary focus on marine biology. Each site will host two to three clinics. (3) To develop inclusive, integrative angling and marine education winter workshops that will foster interest in ichthyology, urban marine ecology, and environmental stewardship for a diverse array of NYC communities. Through the compilation of angling and seining data, this work will also pioneer the establishment of a growing fish data group network of NYC environmental education organizations.”

As the faculty advisor to the Nyack College Fishing Club, Dr. Park commented, “My collaborators and I are hopeful that this work will lead to greater environmental stewardship in New York City. Through active public participation in the research process, known as citizen science, we are making marine biology accessible through conservation-minded angling and the collection of crucial monitoring data for the East River, and I am proud that the Nyack College Fishing Club is playing an instrumental role in this story.”

This past summer, Dr. Park was featured on Spectrum News NY 1 in a segment on the cable network station that highlighted work on the grant.

Congratulations to Dr. Park for the great work he is doing with Nyack students and for his efforts to establish partnerships with agencies involved with environmental education!