Art + Science

In collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Back to the Bays is a series of educational activities lead by CCE’s scientists along with an Art Barge instructor. Each program is a reflection of one of the core areas of the CCE Marine Program (Water Quality, Habitat, Aquaculture, Fisheries) and will feature both an educational component and an artistic element.

The Salt Marsh, Nature’s Water Filter

Explore the nearby salt marsh habitat and discuss how salt marshes are important to the health of the ecosystem, removal pollutants and filtration of water. 

Using colored paint and other mediums, create a landscape scene illustrating the marsh and surrounding water.


Seine & Sketch

Participants will be brought on a seining expedition to catch local marine life. They will observe what is caught in the seine net up close and then sketch or paint what they see.  


Flora and Algae Pressing

Outdoor exploration will result in collection of flora and washed up algae for use in botanical printing. Participants will be led in a species identification exercise and create one of a kind piece of artwork featuring these local species. Importance of marine plants including beach grass, marsh grass, eelgrass, and macroalgae will be discussed.


Light in the Water Column 

Show photographs and video footage taken during CCE’s fieldwork outings of underwater habitats. Take note of how the sunlight travels through the water column and how water quality and pollution may affect this. Create an underwater scene using different mediums.


Oysters and Scallops and Clams

Look for oyster, clam, and scallop shells during a beach walk that will feature a discussion on the importance of filter feeders to our waters, maritime history, and the trade of aquaculture. In addition to using shells found during the walk, CCE will bring specimens of each species for observation and discussion. Participants  will create one of a kind sand castings featuring clam, scallop, oyster shells.


Coastal Plants

An interpretive guided walk along the beach will be led by a marine botanist and participants will make observations of various coastal plant species. Plants found in and around our local bays will be sketched. Live samples of marsh grass, dune grass and eelgrass will be available for observation in the studio and a discussion about the importance of these coastal plants, human impacts on their populations, and  how we can help will encompass the educational portion of this program. 


Fish in Our Waters

Photographs and field footage of fish species that utilize eelgrass beds will be presented. The importance of eelgrass to these species in an ecological and economic sense will be discussed.  Participants will then create fish printing artwork using molds of the species discussed.


Marine Debris

Participants will learn about the importance of marine debris removal to our marine environment and become familiar with the work of CCE’s Fisheries Team in removing derelict fishing gear from our waters. Participants will then customize a piece of fishing gear removed from the bay by CCE’s team as part of a collaborative art piece, then take part in a found object art activity.