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Earth Day event across the moat: Shelter Islander presents on keeping bays healthy

On Sunday, April 21, a special Earth Day film screening event will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Sag Harbor Cinema in collaboration with Back to the Bays, an initiative of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Marine Program.

The event will feature two archival short documentary films: “Baymen — Our Waters Are Dying” and “Fishermen and Fishing.”​ 

Afterwards, Shelter Islander Kate Rossi-Snook, Back to the Bays Aquaculture Coordinator, will do a presentation announcing Sag Harbor as the newest Back to the Bays Stewardship Site, followed by a discussion on the importance of science and stewardship for the sustained health of our bays.

“When it came to speaking to the Sag Harbor Village Board and community about expanding our work to their waters,” said Ms. Rossi-Snook, “it was a point of pride as an Island resident to direct attention to our project here as a model for other towns to follow.”

These are areas of keen interest for the Island as well as Sag Harbor. Last year Back to the Bays marked Shelter Island as a new Stewardship Site, seeing great success in both restoration and “education plus engagement.”

“Baymen – Our Waters Are Dying,” from 1976, portrays the life of clam diggers in eastern Long Island at the time and the growing concerns over water pollution and commercial fishing.

“For Long Islanders in 2024 to be able to see and hear and learn directly from those who were in this area, working these waters, caring about this same community is the reason the Library collects and preserves this kind of film,” said Elena Rossi-Snook, Film Collection Specialist, The New York Public Library.

“Fishermen and Fishing” (1961) will also screen as part of the program, a short documentary about the communal life of fishermen of the Molyvos community on the island of Lesbos, Greece in the early 60s.

Although each of the films is over 50 years old, the topics of ocean habitat sustainability and the livelihood of small fishing communities are prescient.

“In a time when we regularly witness the realities of our changing planet, it is important to show people that through science, education and stewardship, we can help ensure the East End remains the beautiful and bountiful place we all love,” said Kate Rossi-Snook.

Information about tickets can be found here: sagharborcinema.org/films/earth-day-at-sag-harbor-cinema/