Education is the key to healthy ecosystems with Kyle Troy
Marine Education Center
Mamaroneck, New York
Winner of the 2019 NMEA Marine Education Award—Individual
I have been a field biologist for 13 years now and have worked in almost every corner of the country with a wide variety of species. I started down in Florida working with Sea turtles and manatees from Miami to Cape Canaveral. From there, my company moved me up to work 40 miles off of Gloucester, Massachusetts with North Atlantic right whales, primarily, but also several other threatened species. I moved from there down to New York, where I was an ornithologist in Westchester County. From there, I headed all the way to Malibu, California, where I was the restoration biologist for the Malibu Creek watershed and worked with steelhead trout, California tree frogs, and California Newts. This is where I found my real calling for Marine Education! I was the volunteer coordinator out there as well as the grant manager and I loved seeing the reactions of the groups that we brought out to see our work. Everyone loved it! I realized that education is the key to keeping all of the ecosystems healthy. If people don't know, they don't care—and that is when I moved here to New York and took the job at the Marine Education Center. It’s amazing to be handed an empty building and see it grow, and to inspire so many people to learn and get involved through our programs!
I run the Marine Education Center in Harbor Island park in Mamaroneck, NY, which is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday. I run free programs twice a day each day we are open, teaching educational concepts about various aspects of the Long Island Sound ecosystem. Program topics include marine ecology, animal adaptations, water cycles, climate change, history of the Long Island Sound, wetland ecology, invertebrate animals, and acoustics. Everything on display in the five tanks at the center is collected from the Long Island Sound. One of the tanks in a touch tank where I let the kids touch several species (seastars are a favorite). Schools throughout Westchester and Manhattan come down to the center and I teach programs on ecology of the Long Island Sound. Throughout the summer, I run camp programs for various camps in the area. Every week I do a harbor clean-up and every month I do a paddleboard clean-up. Through these clean-ups, we have removed over 2,000 pounds of garbage from the ecosystem in the last two years! I run birthday parties where the party guests learn about the Long Island Sound and the fish that live within it. I lead bird walks and kayak tours. I also mentor Gold Award Girl Scouts as well as Eagle Scouts. I have started floating wetlands with Girl Scouts and we are continuing to grow the wetland. There are so many exciting things I do, all related to the water and it’s amazing to see how much people learn from their experience here at the center.