SPEAKER: Long island's been known for the water, for the working waterfront, since it was first colonized, and actually the Native Americans did that as well. They worked in the water. In my family, I'm the son of a [? bayman ?] and a boat builder. So I've been on the water my entire life literally. And so my first memories were working on the water, digging for clams, helping my father build boats, and he still does that to this day.
So it's pretty exciting for me to be involved with this field and be involved with a project that helps to enhance that resource and to also support commercial fishing. I think it's important. That's one of the things that's different about Cornell Cooperative Extension is that we like the aspect of our work that involves working with people that work on the water. It's not just protecting and preserving but enhancing, so people can make a living on the water, and that's somewhat unique in this day and age.
People tend to want to have kind of a stand-off approach and just observe it from afar. Whereas, we're thinking about how it affects people's lives, how it's important to them. What's their background? What makes them excited about where they live? And Long Island is a unique place, because of that, because of that rural Maritime heritage and landscape, and I come from that. That's my roots, so it's important to me.
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Chris Pickerell, M.S. '93, marine program director at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, describes how Cornell is helping to enhance Long Island’s maritime culture and economy by restoring its native shellfish populations.