Dune steward scouts birds along the dunes of Eastern Lake Ontario at Black Pond Wildlife Management AreaOswego, N.Y. - Natural beauty, a lakeside recreational playground, a unique and fragile environmental resource - all this and more are the focus of the new documentary "Barrier Dunes of Eastern Lake Ontario" set to premier on Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 3pm and 10:30pm on WCNY-TV Channel 24 and Time Warner Digital Channel 850, Syracuse, NY. Producer and videographer Dr. Michael S. Ameigh tells the story of the nearly 17-mile-long Eastern Lake Ontario barrier dunes and wetlands system in vibrant video and thoughtful narration in his latest film produced in cooperation with New York Sea Grant and The Ontario Dune Coalition. WCNY TV Program Manager Dale Wagner says, "Dr. Ameigh has produced yet another interesting program. Viewers will love ‘Barrier Dunes of Eastern Lake Ontario' and may be surprised that such a unique area exists right in our backyard for our enjoyment." "People love this area. There is nothing else like it anywhere in the world and thousands visit here each year," Ameigh says. The dune system runs north from the mouth of the Salmon River at Port Ontario in Oswego County to Stony Point south of Henderson Harbor in southern Jefferson County. The diverse dune system complex includes sand and cobblestone barrier beaches, lagoon-like freshwater ponds and creeks, and limestone-lined bays and ledges that are home to many rare dune plants and animals. "Barrier Dunes of Eastern Lake Ontario" shows people enjoying the resource by beach, boat, kayak, sailboat, canoe, personal watercraft and by hiking, fishing and swimming. The production details the types of natural structures that stretch from beach to inland wetlands, on significant bird and plant species, and on invasive species. "Few such areas are as accessible to the public, making efforts to educate the public about properly using the resource an essential part of protecting it," Ameigh says. Ameigh places a special focus on the Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Stewards that interact directly with shoreline users to enhance understanding of the fragile environment. "One of the challenges of the modern era is to educate the public about the importance of preserving native ecology and wetland systems. The Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Stewards is a joint local, regional, state and federal partnership that is mounting an unprecedented effort to educate residents and visitors about how to both enjoy and protect the dune system," Ameigh says. "The Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Stewards interact face-to-face with dune visitors and the result has improved understanding of the history, geology, geography, ecology and critical importance of the eastern Lake Ontario barrier dune system in the natural order," Ameigh adds. New York Sea Grant manages the Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Program in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and The Nature Conservancy.  Steward Program Coordinator Mary Penney says, "Dr. Ameigh does a fine job of showcasing the Eastern Lake Ontario dune system natural area. I am thrilled he has highlighted the Stewards' educational efforts and offered tips for how viewers and visitors can make a difference by properly enjoying this rare and critical natural resource." Other videos by Dr. Ameigh, who is Assistant Provost and an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at SUNY Oswego, are "Winter Water Birds of Eastern Lake Ontario," "River of Rushes: An Introduction to Upstate New York's Montezuma Wetlands," and "Footprints of the Ice Age: The Laurentide Ice Sheet in Upstate New York."

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Photo Caption:  Dune steward scouts birds along the dunes of Eastern Lake Ontario at Black Pond Wildlife Management Area Contact:              Mary Penney, New York Sea Grant, 315-312-3042 Michael S. Ameigh, Michael.ameigh@oswego.edu Dale Wagner, WCNY TV, 315-453-2424