Get Back to the Bays

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Back to the Bays Initiative has begun its spring membership drive, and is asking members of the public to join in support of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Marine Program. 

Since 1985, CCE’s Marine Program has been working towards increasing the water quality of our bays, improving habitat availability for our marine species, enhancing and restoring stocks of commercially and recreationally important shellfish, providing meaningful volunteer opportunities to the public, and educating our youth on the importance of protecting and preserving our marine ecosystem and maritime heritage. 

Back to the Bays members help ensure these efforts continue, and are expanded upon in the years ahead.  General membership is $25 per year and supporting memberships are $100 per year. Each membership level offers varying levels of discounts to CCE Marine’s programs and events.

This spring, the Marine Program is growing millions of clams in support of the Long Island Shellfish Restoration Project, and needs the public’s help caring for them. Orientation sessions are being held May 7 in Northport and May 18 at the Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center at Cedar Beach in Southold, in conjunction with SCMELC’s open house on May 18 from 11 am. to 1 p.m. More details are online at

Members of Back to the Bays are also welcome to attend lectures at the Southold Project in Aquaculture Training (SPAT) at the Southold environmental learning center. This month’s lecture, on May 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. and again on May 17 from 1 to 3 p.m., is on shellfish nursery systems.

Back to the Bays is also involved in an annual horseshoe crab monitoring program on various reference beaches throughout New York’s Marine District. Participants assist with the collection of scientific data that is used to assess the status of horseshoe crabs in New York State. More details are online at

For more details on all their work, and to become a member of Back to the Bays, visit

Beth Young

Beth Young built her first boat out of driftwood tied together with phragmites behind her family’s apartment above the old Mill Creek Inn in Southold. Nowadays, she spends most of her time kayaking, learning about shellfish, writing newspaper stories, trying to sail a Sunfish, and watching the way the bay changes from day to day. You can send her a message at

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