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Brookhaven’s Youth Board

Pictured with the West Meadow beach clean-up volunteers are, from left, co-founder of the Pollution Prevention Passport program, Cayla Rosenhagen; Town of Brookhaven Department of General Services Executive Assistant, Frank Petrignani; Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich; program co-founder, Iris Rosenhagen; Brookhaven Town Youth Board Chair Charlotte Pressley (third from right); Supervisor Ed Romaine (second from right) and Town of Brookhaven Environmental Educator, Nicole Pocchaire (right). Photo by Raina Angelier

By Cayla Rosenhagen

Cayla Rosenhagen

In the words of Dr. Jane Goodall, “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.”

Environmental awareness is critical in creating widespread care for the nature that surrounds us. And when we care, we are driven to protect.   

A press conference was held on August 18 at West Meadow Beach in Stony Brook to announce the launch of Brookhaven Town’s new environmental conservation program for all ages. The event, preceded by a beach clean-up with over fifty volunteers, celebrated a novel way for locals to get involved in protecting and appreciating the natural beauty our town has to offer. 

Members of Brookhaven’s Youth Board, including myself, joined Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, and town environmental educator Nicole Pocchiare at the beach to kick off the Pollution Prevention Passport initiative.

The Passport program encourages community members to visit Brookhaven’s many parks and beaches and record their travels in their very own document of travel. Additionally, it fosters environmental stewardship by supporting and suggesting eco-friendly decisions and collecting litter. 

Inside the passport, participants will find pages to tally the kinds of litter they have found, to document and illustrate their experiences, and record the conservation efforts they have made during their outings. A map featuring an inspiring list of Brookhaven’s abundant parks and beaches can be found in the back of the passport. 

After filling in the passport, it can be submitted to the Town for a “Stamp of Stewardship,” as recognition for the participant’s contribution to protecting Brookhaven’s green spaces.   

To download and print a passport of your own, or to find out more about the program, please visit brookhavenny.gov/passport.

Cayla Rosenhagen is a local high school student who enjoys capturing the unique charm of the community through photography and journalism. She serves on the board of directors for the Four Harbors Audubon Society and Brookhaven’s Youth Board, and is the founder and coordinator of Beach Bucket Brigade, a community outreach program dedicated to environmental awareness, engagement, and education. She is also an avid birder, hiker, and artist who is concurrently enrolled in college, pursuing a degree in teaching.