Stony Brook, NY – June 15, 2021; The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) has unveiled its newest virtual, hands-on cooperative learning program that connects students across Long Island Sound. Long
Island Sound Connections is the first program to connect both shores with students from New York and Connecticut – With virtual class check-ins, “summits” where students present their findings, and an ongoing
collection of data and that information’s analysis.

The Long Island Sound Connections program was designed to help students learn about the Long Island Sound and to inspire them to protect their environment. The program is offered via distance learning from the WMHO’s Erwin J. Ernst Marine Conservation Center (EMCC), students have front row seats to one of the most pristine natural resources in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the first distance learning program to allow students to collect their own data (like water salinization, marine species inventory and environmental research), compare and contrast their two environments (suburban and urban), and present it to their partner class.

“After years of WMHO offering distance learning programs, it is wonderful to see a program that enables students to teach each other about the differences in the environments they grew up in”, said WMHO Chairman, Dr. Richard Rugen. The research collected from both side of the Long Island Sound will be entered in WHMO’s software. Each season additional data will be added to it to create a map to assist researchers of all ages to understand the similarities and differences and track changes over time.

The first “Summit” of classes in the program was between Michelle Millers’ 6th Grade Science Class from Middle Country School District in Selden, New York, and Julianne Biagioli’s 7th Grade Science Class from Bridgeport School District in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Michele Miller and co-teacher Doreen Barry at the Selden Middle School said, “This was an authentic learning at its best. Students felt there was a real purpose for their research projects on this unit. A big part of the excitement of the program was the anticipation of meeting the class in Bridgeport Connecticut on the other side of the Long Island Sound.” Julianne Biagioli agreed, saying, “It definitely enriched students’ learning. Especially since they did their own independent research on different animal and plant species”.

With grants provided by the Fullwood Foundation, Investors Foundation, and Teachers Federal Credit Union, this program was offered to participating classes free of charge.

“Once we heard about this project, our support for it was immediate. It offers elementary and middle country students a chance to become attuned to the importance of Long Island Sound and its wetlands, so that appreciating and protecting them will become
second nature as these children become adults. After all, not only do protection of wetlands benefit Long Islanders locally, it matters for their neighbors across the Sound, the country, and even the world”, said Dr. Robert Parker of the Fullwood Foundation.

For more information about the WMHO, on the Long Island Sound Connection program, other historic and scientific programs that the WMHO offers, please call 631-751-2244 or visit