Avalon’s Nature Initiative provides teens with skills to protect the natural environment and to inspire others to do the same.


Offering diverse connections with local organizations, Nature Initiative coordinates events to bring our teen volunteers together with the environmental community.

If you are eager to create a conservation ethic and to build friendships with like-minded students who are passionate about the outdoors, then Nature Initiative might be the perfect place to fulfill your desire to serve.

Time commitments and participation will vary among our members, but the character traits we are looking for will rarely change. Please be reliable, hard-working, group-oriented, and environmentally-minded.


Off Trail

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Boat Building Program

Duration: October-May, 1x/week for 2 hours

Returning for the 2021-2022 school year, applications will open mid-summer 

There are so many uses for water in our daily lives, including recreational purposes in our oceans and bays. Do you enjoy boating whether it’s canoeing, kayaking, sailing or operating a powerboat? We have the perfect project: building a 12-foot wooden duck boat kayak!

This program is set up to take place for the duration of the school year, one afternoon or evening per week (lasting for approximately 2 hours). What better after school activity than building a kayak? You will have the satisfaction of completing a long term project that is original and unique, working with a team of like minded volunteers, and seeing the kayak from a template on paper to its finished product! This is an opportunity for learning new skills, working hands on, talking to others, and being a craftsman or craftswoman!

We are seeking 8 volunteers who have a passion for building, creating, or crafting something new, who want to participate in an activity that goes back to the roots of maritime history, conservation, and environmental stewardship, and who want to learn more about the trade by participating in a STEM project. If you enjoy collaborating with a small team and want to be a part of this experience (even if you don’t have a lot of involvement with boating), please be sure to apply!

Full Description

Deadline: September 26th, 2021 (by 11:59 PM EST)

Applications submitted after September 26th will not be considered


Shellfish Restoration Project

Duration: 2-4 hours per week in May; 6-8 hours a week from June-August; return to seed the bays in the fall

**Schedule will be created according to low tide times**

Did you know that one oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day? Slightly less than three quarters of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, and with this at least half of the oxygen we breathe on a daily basis is generated by marine plants and phytoplankton. The point is that our waters are very important, however there are still many areas that have poor water quality and are heavily clogged with pollutants, algal blooms, bacteria, and excess nutrients, which all deplete oxygen. Shellfish are huge contributors to improving water quality and keeping our waters clean.

Stony Brook Yacht Club (SBYC) is continuing its mariculture program for the 2021 season, and is run by the Stony Brook Mariculture Committee (SMC). The SMC, composed of members of the SBYC, has proposed and successfully established a shellfish aquaculture program with the intention of improving water quality, promoting the health of the tidal wetlands, and to reintroduce stocks of cultured species for restoration purposes.

Going into its tenth year, the mariculture program has designed various methods and techniques to rear shellfish species. Specifically, eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and hard shell clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) will be raised and then dispersed into Stony Brook Harbor and adjacent waterways. By rearing oysters and clams we hope to replenish shellfish populations and to create cleaner bays.

We are looking for a team of 8 volunteers to do weekly checks and maintenance on cages, record growth data, monitor water quality data, and to raise the oysters from spat throughout the field season. Seed from spat and cages will be supplied for Nature Initiative volunteers.

We are seeking volunteers who have a love for the ocean and marine ecosystems, who want to learn more about bivalves and their contributions to water quality health, as well as expand their scientific research skills using a hands on field approach. If you enjoy collaborating with a small team and are eager to make a splash in shellfish monitoring, please make sure to apply!

Deadline: May 15th 2021 (by 11:59 PM EST)

Applications submitted after May 15th will not be considered

Meet Kayla

Being a Long Island native, Kayla gained an interest in science at a young age. Not everyone knows what they want to study “when they grow up”, but Kayla was always intrigued by the ocean and the mysteries unfolding beneath them. After participating in Marine Science camp at a young age and then enrolling in Oceanography and Marine Ecology classes as a junior in high school, Kayla knew she was following her passion.

Kayla received her BS degree in Marine Vertebrate Biology from Stony Brook University in 2012, and her MAT degree in Science Education at Queens College in 2017, paired with a teaching certification in Biology for grades 7-12.

Email Kayla