The outreach mission of AWI is accomplished largely through our Stewardship Program. In addition to inspecting boats and other gear and to removing any foreign materials there from, our stewards educate boaters about invasive species. Through one-on-one to group encounters at launch sites and elsewhere our stewards work to increase boater awareness about the potential harm caused by these organisms and to train boaters on appropriate measures for preventing unintentional spread. The ability of our stewards to potentially change boater behavior through education is a critical aspect of prevention: our stewards interacted with over 120,000 boaters in 2016 alone.
We also use our investigative skills as scientists coupled with the findings from our research projects to inform policies so to improve our natural resources. For example, we authored a literature-based report on the effects and costs of road de-icing and presented it at a stakeholder forum at Paul Smith's College. We then followed up by using our water quality monitoring data to conduct a regional analysis of the effect of paved roads on sodium and chloride in lakes and published this in the journal Water Research, and then presented the results of this analysis at a second stakeholder forum at Paul Smith's College. This combination of outreach and science resulted in significant changes in road salt use in the Adirondack Park.
Like learning another language, changing behavior and building environmental awareness are most effectively done at younger ages. It was through a combination of this understanding and a need to reach a broader audience that we started our Water Shield Workshop in 2014. We are excited about offering this first-ever Park-wide environmental education program.
We also work closely with our partners on a diverse array of outreach activities, such as:
- Hosting and participating in the Adirondack Watershed Steward training
- Providing aquatic plant identification and mapping training
- Providing water quality monitoring and sampling training
- Hosting and participating in workshops and conferences
- Speaking to groups about invasive species and/or water quality
Please contact us if your group/organization is interested a presentation or workshop.