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Maria Brown Day

  • Maria Brown Day!

    Sayville’s Maria Brown Receives Sierra Club 2013 Environmentalist of The Year Award and Special Day Designation

    Recognized for their great contributions to environmental education, the two distinguished recipients of the Sierra Club Long Island 2013 “Environmentalist of the Year Award” were Maria Brown, Sayville High School’s Science Research Teacher and Eileen Gerle, a Marine Educator for Brookhaven Township.

    In addition both had the day of March 22nd 2014 declared in their honor by Edward Romaine, Brookhaven Town Supervisor.

    This may come as no surprise to anyone in Sayville who has encountered the very energetic Sayville High School’s Science Research Teacher Maria Brown. Sayville School District takes great pride in Mrs. Brown’s work ethic, success with her students, and countless accomplishments within a very impressive history (see below) that includes 18 other education awards during her career as a teacher in Sayville.

    Congratulations, Mrs. Brown!

    Other Awards Maria Brown has received:

    1. Long Island University – Long Island Secondary School Teacher of the Year Award (2013)
    2. Science Museum of Long Island – Advocates for Science & Technology Award (2013)
    3. The Academy of Applied Science – Junior Science & Humanities Symposium Teacher Award (2013)
    4. South Shore Estuary Reserve - Citizens Advisory Committee Stewardship Award (2011)
    5. Sayville High School – Teacher Who Made a Difference (2011, 2012, 2013)
    6. Brookhaven National Laboratory – Department of Energy Academies Creating Teacher Scientists Fellowship (2009-2011)
    7. Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award – National Society of High School Scholars, 2010
    8. Noyce Scholars Teaching Award, 2010
    9. Outstanding Teacher Award – Brookhaven National Laboratory; Open Space Stewardship Program, 2010
    10. Leadership, Research, Service Award - Phi Delta Kappa Professional Education Association, 2010
    11. Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning & Policy Commission – Educational Leadership Award, 2010
    12. Stewardship and Action Award – South Shore Estuary Reserve Program, 2008
    13. Fran File Educator Award – Great South Bay Audubon Society, 2007 and 2012
    14. Service Award – Science Teachers of New York State (STANYS), 2006
    15. Environmental Science Teaching Award, Environmental Protection Agency, 2006
    16. Dowling College/News 12 Educator of the Month Award, 2006
    17. High School Science Teacher of the Year Award; STANYS, Suffolk Section, 2004
    18. Who’s Who Among American Teachers (2002 – 2013)



    • Maria Brown began her career as an educator in the Sayville District in 1999, where she quickly designed and implemented the AP Environmental Science Program for the 2000/2001 school year. She developed a Program that utilized Brookside County Park as an Outdoor Learning Laboratory as well as Green’s Creek and the salt marsh located at the LI Maritime Museum where 40% of the course curricula were taught.
    • For seven years Mrs. Brown acquired research permits from both the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as well as Suffolk County Parks and Recreation to conduct authentic research studies associated with the APES curriculum. Students worked closely with members of Great South Audubon who are the official stewards of Brookside County Park providing community service for various events and activities. Students were also required to conduct a mini-research project immediately following the AP exam in May. 
    • Seven volumes of research reports are held in a repository at both the Great South Bay Audubon Society Library as well as the Suffolk County Department of Parks & Recreation offices in West Sayville.
    •  In 2003, Mrs. Brown’s students worked closely with the West Sayville Civic Association to actively block the development of a proposed condominium complex at the former Blue Points Oyster Facility in West Sayville. Students rallied community members to attend the Public Meetings which were attended by well over 200 people. The developer retracted his proposal and the site was purchased by the DeAngelis Family (West Sayville Boat Basin) who refurbished the buildings to appear as they did historically. A large area remained as a wet lab which is now the CERCOM Center, operated by Molloy College under the direction of Dr. John Tanacredi.
    •  In 2005, the APES students who created the 5th Volume of APES reports received an environmental award from the EPA for their outstanding environmentally related research. In 2005, Cameron Engineering contacted Mrs. Brown to use the studies that were conducted by her students to formulate the Islip Town Watershed Action Plan for Green’s Creek. The students of Sayville high school are cited throughout the document.
    • In 2006, Mrs. Brown developed the Research in Science and Engineering Program (RISE) at the high school, where students conduct authentic research in a subject area they are interested in. Over 95% of the projects are conducted “in-house” under her direction. She works closely with Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Office of Educational Programs and their Open Space Stewardship Program (OSSP), Stony Brook University, Molloy College (CERCOM), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Coastal Research & Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI), and the Central Pine Barrens Planning & Policy Commission.
    • During Mrs. Brown’s presentation to the Sierra Club members, she demonstrated how her RISE students are involved in local environmental projects that are significantly contributing to what is known about the molecular ecology of flying squirrels, dragonflies, and most notably the threatened banded sunfish and horseshoe crabs.
    • In 2007 Scott Bronson from BNL’s OEP came to Sayville HS and helped Mrs. Brown design a genetics laboratory which took 5 years to acquire all of the necessary equipment. Mr. Bronson also provided initial training to both Mrs. Brown and her students. Mrs. Brown then received a 3-year Fellowship at BNL to study molecular ecology with scientists during the summer months. Resulting directly from the training she received and the fact that her students have direct access to a fully functional genetics lab in their own high school (except for sequencing) students have produced very interesting results.
    •  Allison Murphy, a junior just recently received 1st Place at the Long Island Science & Engineering Fair and will move on to compete at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in May in Los Angeles for her study on the genetic variation of banded sunfish, a threatened species, in the Peconic River. Other students who have been working closely with the Molloy College CERCOM Facility have been analyzing the genetic variability in horseshoe crab populations from 13 Long Island Bays compared to Chesapeak and Delaware Bay samples as well as to northern and southern Florida samples. The research on horseshoe crabs by two of Sayville’s students ; Curran Boyce (2013) and Susan Mangaluz (2014) was highlighted when they were filmed by National Geographic just weeks before Superstorm Sandy hit at the CERCOM Center. The show is called Alien Crabs and is scheduled to air on Nat Geo Wild Tuesday March 25th at 10:30 pm. 
    • Mrs. Brown has contributed to environmental education in other countries. In 2010 Mrs. Brown was requested to fly to Pisa, Italy to teach Molecular Ecology of Dragonflies as part of an international “Twinnings Program” with Melissa Griffiths from the Central Pine Barrens Commission & Brookhaven Science Associates. Students from Italy and the USA formed studies related to the evolutionary divergence of two species of the genus Sympetrum. Additional projects highlighted in her presentation included research students have done on arsenic and lead uptake by bivalves in the Great South Bay using the National Synchrotron Light Source as an analytical tool. 
    • Mrs. Brown is also an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University where she teaches geospatial science. Her knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has carried over into the high school RISE Program where last summer 12 students received training which was funded by the Friends of Sayville Education Society. Students have since produced projects related to evidence of climate change through micro-habitat changes from 1974 – present at the salt marsh located at the Maritime Museum in West Sayville. Students are also working with CRESLI to map for the first time ever, over 30 years of data on whales and dolphins off of the coastline of Long Island where they would like to propose a Marine Mammal Sanctuary. 
    • Mrs. Brown is the co-advisor with Sayville High School APES teacher Sonja Anderson of the high school environmental club SWEEP (Students Working for Enhanced Environmental Protection). This club designed a successful Birding Buddies Program, runs a Talent Show each year which contributes money to an environmental organization and supports a student from a Riberinos Village in the Peruvian Amazon to attend high school in Iquitos City each year. Lastly, the SWEEP Club can always be found under the big red and white striped tent at the Gillette Park Earth Day Event giving away free trees, recycled books, and offering fun environmental related activities for children.
    • Mrs. Brown is the Advisor of the Explorer’s Club at the Sayville Middle School. In this club students learn about different environments, ecosystems, and environmental issues. One field trip is planned monthly on a weekend so that families can enjoy the wonders of Long Island together through kayaking, hiking, observing seals at Cupsogue Beach or being involved in creating art from recycled materials! Students have been invited to the real Explorer’s Club in Manhattan on Saturday April 12th where they will take a tour, meet scientists and see the movie Alien Crabs!
    • Mrs. Brown also conducts a Sustainability Enrichment Trip each February for the students of Sayville High School. Students have traveled to Costa Rica, the Peruvian Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands for the past nine years to learn about conservation biology, sustainable development and renewable energy. Mrs. Brown was motivated to create these opportunities for students so that they would develop an appreciation for the natural world and ecosystem services so that they would actively work to conserve them for future generations, promote strong global economies, and ensure a good quality of life for all! Supervisor Ed Romaine presented Maria with a citation from Brookhaven Township declaring March 22nd “Maria Brown Day”!
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