Each year, each grade at Sayville High School chooses a cause or a non-profit to support. This year, the Freshmen of Sayville High School chose “Save The Great South Bay” as their non-profit. It was Doug Shaw, who teaches English at The High School and was born and raised in Sayville, who reached out to me via our Facebook Group to relay the good news. He told me “the kids were looking to do something really local.”
That desire, to focus on the local, on the community, is very much what Save The Great South Bay is about. We have now nearly 2500 people in our Facebook Group, 90%+ of which are from communities along the South Shore. Furthermore, Save The Great South Bay started at the 35th Reunion of the Class of 1977 in 2012. All we could talk about that night at The Grey Horse Tavern (in Bayport) was what had happened to our bay and if there was anything we could do to fix it. Now three years later, we are a Non-Profit 501(c)3 ready to apply its resources towards building a greener Sayville and a healthier bay.
This week, Sayville High School’s Freshman Class will be working on the “Save The Great South Bay” Homecoming float. And so will members of Save The Great South Bay, particularly those originally from Sayville. Then some of us may end up marching in the Homecoming Parade noon Saturday, perhaps dressed as bay creatures.
With 260 Freshmen working for the cause, I believe we will be able to create a lot of public awareness about the bay and why its sick and what can be done to save it, and to save a way of life.
Simply put — anything you put on your lawn goes down towards our drinking water and out into our bay. If we are to save the bay we will first have to work on healing the mainland. The less pesticides and fertilizers people put on their lawns in Sayville, the healthier the bay around Sayville will become. Our ponds and streams would be healthier too. While 60% of the problem with the bay is cesspools and septic tanks leaching nitrogen into the groundwater and sparking algal blooms, there are things we need to do right now so that we can at least buy a little time to come up with some answers. Here are some basics on the pesticide / fertilizer front.
We are in a race against time. Every single bay, pond, river on Long Island is listed by the New York State Department of Conservation as ‘impaired.’ What has happened to The Great South Bay is happening everywhere. But we must act local. What if this one town was able to cut way back on its contribution to the problem, reverse the decline, and come up with approaches that other towns could follow?
Can we yet save The Great South Bay? It starts with one South Shore town.