A Marine Education Center for the Village of Mamaroneck

Mamaroneck Village has its share of Long Island Sound headaches—among them, crumbling sewers and beaches that close regularly because of pollution—but it also has a Long Island Sound spirit that is certainly admirable.

That spirit was evident one Saturday morning last month, when a group of about 40 gathered at Harbor Island Park for the official opening of the village’s new Marine Education Center, which features intimate exhibits about local fauna and fauna. Its opening was big news in coastal Westchester, bringing out the mayor and village board, a state senator and assemblyman, a county legislator, the crew of the schooner SoundWaters, Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson (a former board chair of Save the Sound who continues to set an example for steadfast and enthusiastic Sound advocacy), and various Sound advocates (including our executive director, Don Strait, and our new summer outreach coordinator, Cameron Okie).

Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum served as master of ceremonies and spread around the praise, saving the lion’s share for the volunteers on Mamaroneck’s Committee for the Environment and for Katherine and Jim Desmond, the local residents who envisioned and planned the new center.

Katherine in particular was obviously moved by the enthusiasm of the crowd. She knew the Marine Education Center was worthwhile but it wasn’t until Saturday morning that she fully realized its impact on the community, she said.

When it was her turn to take the microphone she thanked and praised Mayor Rosenblum and the village board for their support, encouragement and formal approvals. She expressed her gratitude to Village Manager Richard Slingerland for helping turn the village board’s approval into action. And she beamed proudly when she told the crowd what one young visitor to the center had said to her, namely:

“Why doesn’t every town have one of these?”

It may have been rhetorical but it was an excellent question.

The Marine Education Center will be open on Saturday mornings in May and June, with longer-term plans to unfold in the coming months. Or stop in any time you see the flags flying. Details here.

This may seem like merely a local attraction, but this part of the shoreline is filled with restaurants, attractions and sights that can combine with a trip to the center to make a fun and educational family daytrip: Harbor Island Park is on Route 1, a 15-minute walk from the Metro North station along Mamaroneck Avenue, a broad and lively main street of local businesses. Or if you go by car, the Jay Heritage Center and Marshlands Conservancy are less than two miles up Route 1, in Rye. The Bird Homestead-Meeting House, on Milton Road in Rye, has frequent Saturday afternoon lectures and presentations throughout the year and the Meeting House itself, which has a small exhibit of historical photos, is open Saturday afternoons.

We commend Katherine and the remarkable volunteers of Mamaroneck who made their admirable vision of a Marine Education Center a reality. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and hope you stop in to learn more about the Sound’s wildlife and habitats soon, too.

Posted by Tom Andersen, New York Program and Communications Coordinator for Save the Sound

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