Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mattituck Resident Receives Environmentalist of the Year Award

On Thursday, July 9, the North Fork Environmental Council (NFEC) presented its Richard Noncarrow Environmentalist of the Year Award to Mel Morris for his role developing programs for young people -- from kindergarten through graduate school -- that foster interest in environmental issues and research. Morris, a Mattituck resident, serves as Manager, of the Special Projects for the Office of Educational Programs at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton.

Morris leads, the GREEn Institute’s Open Space Stewardship Program (OSSP) that fosters partnerships between schools and land stewards in their local area. Through the years hundreds of students from kindergarten through high school became involved in authentic environmental research on properties in their own communities, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility for open space within their neighborhoods.

Over the years, Morris also played an integral role in the “Day in the Life” program where students with interests in a variety of disciplines -- science, art, history, English, etc. -- spend a day documenting quantitative and qualitative information about the state of our waters. Current programs cover the Carmans River, the Nissequogue River and the Peconic Estuary which had a successful debut last October.

NFEC President Toedter (l) presents Morris his award
NFEC President Bill Toedter presented the Richard Noncarrow Environmentalist of the Year Award to Morris and said, “It has taken a long time for the North Fork's water woes to take shape and it will take time to stop and reverse them. By engaging our youth, Mel has opened their eyes to the beauty of nature, the problems we are facing and ways they can become involved to help create a cleaner, healthier place for all.”

Mel Morris received awards for his work including proclamations from Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, Southold Supervisor Scott Russell and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski and a representative from Congressman Lee Zeldin's office.

Mary Eisenstein and Mel Morris
The environment may be a hot-button issue during the next election cycle as several Democratic candidates and the Southold Town Democratic Party leader Art Tillman were also in attendance. "Care for the environment is an issue that affects everyone in our community. In a quiet way, Mel's leadership will produce a body of informed citizen scientists who will lay the groundwork of a sustainable Southold," he said.

Damon Rallis, Democratic candidate for Southold Town supervisor added, "The work that Mel has done with educators and students over the last decade, should bear fruit over the next decade as the Town's Comprehensive Plan for 2020 is implemented. Ultimately our town benefits from the input of informed and concerned residents and leaders."

In attendance, was Mel's wife Mary Eisenstein who is president of the Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association, along with other family and community members.

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