ALO and MATES Partner to Broaden Local Environmental Awareness
Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science students recently teamed up with local nonprofit Alliance for a Living Ocean to help increase awareness of critical area environmental issues via the creation of short educational videos.
MATES Supervisor John Wnek’s sophomore research methods class broke into small groups to produce the videos, which Wnek hopes will serve “to reach out to both our residential and visiting populations in the summer to better educate people about Barnegat Bay and the ocean.”
“Using self-produced video footage, stop motion animation and interviews with local activists and experts, each group of two or three students tackled a specific issue” that ALO campaigns to improve, explained volunteer Kyle Gronostajski, a Surf City resident and lifeguard who is pursuing a career in environmental science. Topics included, he noted, “the impacts of using bottled water, toxins in sediment used for dredging and replenishment, eutrophication of Barnegat Bay, and the seasonal changes due to tourism and the increased demands that puts on our resources and environment.”
ALO Executive Director Chris Huch sat in on the video presentations last week to determine a winner. “Despite all being informative and professionally made,” said Gronostajski, “the best was decided to be Monica Douglas and Quinn Dunlea’s presentation on the impact of using single-use plastic water bottles.”
Douglas and Dunlea fittingly received reusable water bottles as a prize, and all the students were given memberships to ALO.
The videos will be available for viewing on ALO’s website, www.livingocean.org; on YouTube; and in the organization’s office, at 1101 Central Ave. Suite A in Ship Bottom. “We hope to have the videos hosted at other locations as well and are moving forward with looking for partners,” said Huch.
As Huch also pointed out, “This project represents just one of the many opportunities presented by a partnership between ALO and MATES,” in Manahawkin. “The students were able to take what they have learned and use it to create educational tools to inform the public on a wide variety of environmental issues, demonstrating the exceptional success MATES has had educating its students. ALO is excited to continue to work closely with MATES in order to better benefit from one another in the future.”
“By now, most of us have come to realize the dire, ever-growing number of issues involving the Barnegat Bay and our little barrier island, Long Beach Island,” remarked Gronostajski. While the work sometimes seems endless, “there are plenty doing their part to make a difference and educate. Alliance for a Living Ocean and the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science are two perfect examples.”
For more information, call the ALO office at 609-494-7800.
-- Juliet Kaszas-Hoch