Real World Learning with the Long Island Maritime Traditions!

As part of an ongoing partnership between the East Williston School District, Long Island Traditions and the College Regional Studies Program, students in Dr. Staudt’s course were treated to a wonderful morning of hands-on learning on Monday, 19 April 2021, Students met with tradesmen from across Long Island’s maritime industries.  This annual workshop provides students with a chance to interact with baymen, captains, and ship makers who make their living on the surrounding waters.

This year’s workshop came with a new twist, as social-distancing guidelines took the presentations outdoors.  The new venue added to the experience, and the weather cooperated very nicely!  The workshop opened with a presentation by Stuart Markus, who taught about the history of sea shanties and performed some of these work-songs.  This opening was followed by a conversation with John Aldridge and his fishing partner Anthony Sosinski, as Mr. Aldridge recounted his incredible survival story after being thrown from his boat in 2013.

Students then broke into small groups of three to six students each and met with the workshop guests.  In addition to the presenters from the workshop opening, students also heard from:

  • Bill Fetzer: a bayman working on Long Island sound, who brought in eels and shellfish that he caught for students to see for themselves.
  • Captain Frank Scobbo and Ross Bisson: tugboat operators who showed students immersion survival suits and provided our students with a chance to work with a boat line.
  • Chris Hale: a model boat maker who provided students with an opportunity to try some of the boat-maker’s tools.
  • George Rigby: a bayman who shared his work carving decoys.
  • Tom Jeffries: a bayman who taught about horseshoe crabs and brought in some live specimens.
  • Paul McCormick: an oyster farmer who taught about the farming tools and the environmental benefits provided by aquafarming.
  • Reed Riemer: a recreational fisherman who shared insights into casting and different fishing seasons.

Dr. Staudt’s College Regional Studies class places a strong emphasis on students learning about the Long Island region.  Under Dr. Staudt’s direction, the class puts important emphasis on the lives of Long Islanders from the past and present and focuses on providing students with learning experiences that broaden their world view.  The annual Maritime Workshop is a prime example of such an experience.

Thanks also goes to Nancy Solomon and Ann Latner from “Long Island Traditions” for organizing the workshop and to all of the workshop presenters for taking the time to work with our students.

Thank you to Wayne Jensen, our District Director of Social Studies and Real World Learning for his support of the program and the write-up!

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