New England Science & Sailing merges with New London Community Boating

New London — As it enters its fourth year working with students in New London Public Schools, the New England Science & Sailing Foundation is expanding the scope of its work in the city to offer more sailing and "ocean adventure" programs for students and their families.

Perhaps most significantly, NESS announced this week that it has brought New London Community Boating under its management. NESS will retain the New London Community Boating brand name and will continue to run the NLCB summer sailing program at Greens Harbor Beach.

"We have been a part of many New London activities which give the children a great sense of place and belonging," NLCB Executive Director Carolyn Leuze said in a statement. "Now NESS will be undertaking the fulfillment of a dream we had so many years ago by continuing our summer sailing program."

The community and NLCB students "will most likely not notice much of a change" in the program, NLCB said in a statement.

“We're currently busy preparing for NLCB's summer program — hiring staff and, as soon as the weather cooperates, we'll be prepping boats," said Mark Zagol, NESS's sailing program director. "Carolyn and Katie (Bradford) have built a wonderful program and we’re delighted to add NLCB to our program line-up for New London students."

NESS President Spike Lobdell said managing NLCB "enables NESS to offer a greater variety of programs as we work year-round with the children of New London."

For the last three years, NESS has partnered with New London Public Schools to make one of this region's greatest natural resources — its waterways — more accessible to students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to experience sailing.

Last year, NESS opened a classroom at Ocean Beach Park to offer hands-on marine science classes and kayaking lessons during the summer. This year, NESS will expand its offerings at Ocean Beach Park to include a weekly marine science program for kids ages 7 to 10, and daily guided kayak excursions for adults and families.

"Ocean Beach and Alewife Cove are incredible resources, right here in New London, and we want to give residents and visitors the opportunity to explore them through engaging adventures," NESS Program Director Mary Horrigan said in a statement.

With the addition of the NLCB program at Greens Harbor Beach, NESS now operates out of four locations in the city: Greens Harbor Beach, Ocean Beach Park, its science, technology, engineering and math classroom at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School, and Mitchell College’s docks, from where NESS coaches the newly-formed New London High School sailing team.

Since 2010, NESS has shifted its focus from being a sailing-only summer program to being a year-round “ocean adventure” program that operates in New London, Stonington and Westerly. Last year, 3,200 students participated in NESS programs, the organization said.

c.young@theday.com

Twitter: @ColinAYoung

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