Open Space Stewardship Project


In January 2006, the Office of Educational Programs at Brookhaven National Laboratory launched the Open Space Stewardship Program as part of its GREEN Institute. GREEN stands for “Gaining Research Experience in the Environment”. The program fosters partnerships between schools and land stewards in their local communities. Students in grades K through 12 participate in environmental research on undeveloped land owned by either a public or private agency.

The Peconic Institute will use the idea of Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Open Space Stewardshop Program and expand on it. The Institute will utilize our region as one big Open Space Stewardship Project. The Institute will bring the program to school districts located in the Peconic Region. Several districts have expressed a strong interest in becoming participants including Tuckahoe, Southampton, Hampton Bays, and Shelter Island as well as the Peconic Community School in Riverhead.

Students in grades K through 12 are involved in practical environmental research on properties in their own communities, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility for open space within their neighborhoods. Each June, students and teachers who participated in Open Space Stewardship are invited to Brookhaven National Laboratory for an evening celebration at which students display and present their work to teachers, parents, scientists, and others in the environmental community.

The Peconic Institute will further expand the Open Space Stewardship Program within the Peconic Region by partnering students and teachers with Stony Brook University professors, students and local environmental managers. The Institute will place a strong emphasis on effectively communicating the science and educating their local community, verbally and graphically. Presentations will be videotaped for broadcast on Public Access television stations (i.e. SeaTV, LTV) across Long Island. All research results will also be made available via theGlobal Knowledge Hub, G kh.

Program Benefits
The program is designed to achieve several goals:
• Benefit land stewards in the management of their property
• Help students to learn about the scientific process through working with real-life data in the field
• Promote scientific literacy
• Encourage students to consider careers in science and technology
• Foster a sense of civic responsibility and respect for open space property in participating students
• Teach students how to communicate science effectively to the general public

Students can:
• Connect with the natural environment
• Conduct authentic research
• Become stewards of property within their community
• Develop an environmental awareness
• Present their work at BNL
• Communicate their work via Public Access television stations

Students Benefits
• Venue for students to conduct and present independent scientific research
• Learn scientific protocols, analytical techniques, and data collection and analysis skills
• Develop a sense of civic responsibility as they become an integral part of stewardship of lands within their own communities

Teacher benefits
• Enhance the relevance of their curriculum with activities and concepts supportive of many state and national teaching standards
• Provide curriculum relevance through the collection of data and participation in a meaningful scientific endeavor
• Enhance teacher skills through workshops, peer interaction, and by working with experts in the field

Teacher Workshops
A variety of professional development workshops are offered throughout the year at Brookhaven National Laboratory. These workshops will also be provided at the Peconic Institute Headquarters to encourage more participation by teachers and districts in the Peconic Region. Examples of past workshops include molecular ecology, geographical information systems, and global positioning systems. During the summer, 45-hour workshops are offered for both elementary and secondary teachers.

School District Benefits
• Public recognition of student achievements
• Strengthen science, math, and art programs
• Data collected will provide important information for state, county, town, etc. to enhance stewardship
• Enhance the learning experience for students and teachers through an interactive relationship with environmentalists, scientists, and government officials
• Create an interface between students, government agencies, and elected officials through student presentation of data, conclusions, and emerging issues

To join our project, please email!