Peconic River in the Fall
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Program History
In January of 2006 the Office of Educational Programs (OEP) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory launched the Open Space Stewardship Program as part of its Green Institute. GREEN stands for “Gaining Research Experience in the Environment.” New York State, Suffolk County and other local government agencies have successfully preserved many parcels of open space properties.  While this has added a challenge for the long-term management of these properties, BNL recognized that this has also created a unique educational opportunity.  The goal of this program is to establish long-term relationships between those responsible for managing publicly owned properties and local school districts. Those responsible for managing open space properties, with the support of local environmentalists like The Foundation for Ecological Research in the Northeast (FERN), identify data of importance for long-term stewardship.  Research protocols are then developed; data is gathered and provided to land stewards, all while serving as the basis for an exciting educational opportunity for teachers and students.

The Foundation for Ecological Research in the Northeast’s role in the program is to provide assistance to teachers, both at the teacher workshops and in the classrooms at the schools.  In addition, FERN provides administrative support as well as the expertise of our staff Biologist.  FERN works with land managers to determine research and monitoring requirements and develops monitoring techniques to answer their needs.  Finally, FERN provides limited funding for supplies, equipment and training for teachers and students. 



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