NY Great Lakes Coastal Educators Honored for Excellence

Oswego, NY; Oct. 19, 2012 – Two Great Lakes coastal issue extension educators: Helen M. Domske, Buffalo, and David B. MacNeill, Oswego, have been honored for excellence by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Extension Network.

New York Sea Grant (NYSG) Coastal Education Specialist Helen M. Domske, Buffalo, received an Outstanding Outreach Award for public education programming related to the “Dose of Reality” campaign on the proper disposal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products to prevent the release of toxins into the Great Lakes.

Domske authored Undo the Environmental Chemical Brew: Keep Unwanted Medications & Chemicals Out of the Great Lakes, a publication co-produced by New York, Illinois-Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania Sea Grant programs with funding through the E.P.A. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

A survey by Domske’s Great Lakes Ecology students at the University of Buffalo indicated that a majority of their family and friends lacked awareness about proper disposal techniques.

Domske’s 4-page primer covers the impact of such substances as antibiotics, antidepressants, birth control pills, cosmetics, and even vitamins on the freshwater Great Lakes system that supplies drinking water to 42 million people in the U.S. and Canada.

NYSG Fisheries Specialist David B. MacNeill, Oswego, received the 2012 Superior Outreach Award for a workshop he developed to improve the design and use of trawls as a fisheries management tool in the Great Lakes. The workshop was supported by the Lake Ontario Great Lakes Regional Research Information Network (GLRRIN) Project.

MacNeill’s November 2011 workshop for managers of U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes fisheries valued at $5 billion resulted in efficiency modifications to three new Great Lakes trawling vessels and led to an improved understanding of the dynamics of prey fish capture by bottom trawls in the Great Lakes.

Additionally, a representative of the Czech Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Hydrobiology Fish Ecology Unit applied lessons learned at MacNeill’s 2008 trawl workshop, sponsored by Rhode Island Sea Grant, to the development of a new trawling research vessel now at work in the Czech Republic monitoring water quality in public drinking water reservoirs.

New York Sea Grant Associate Director and Cornell Cooperative Extension Assistant Director Dr. Katherine E. Bunting-Howarth said, “These well-deserved awards recognize the excellence of the programming developed by New York Sea Grant Extension educators throughout the state. The public reaps the benefits of their work to educate public and professional communities about how we can all help to maintain the vitality and environmental quality of New York’s Great Lakes and marine coastal ecosystems.”