Earthplace announces new Harbor Watch director

Sarah Crosby, PhD

Sarah Crosby, PhD

Earthplace, the Nature Discovery and Environmental Learning Center, announces the appointment of Sarah Crosby, PhD as the new director of Harbor Watch, the renowned water quality monitoring and research program. Crosby succeeds Dick Harris, founder and longtime director of the Harbor Watch program who recently retired after 26 years at the helm. Crosby is a marine ecologist with training in conservation science and extensive research experience with coastal and marine ecosystems.

“I can’t replace an icon like Dick Harris,” said Crosby, “but I can stand on his shoulders and advance a program with a strong foundation of community goodwill, credible research and actionable data.”

Crosby received a bachelor of arts in biology from Tufts University and a M.Sc. in Biological oceanography from the University of Rhode Island (URI). After finishing her Master’s Degree, she later completed a Ph.D. program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University. While at URI, her research highlighted a salt marsh that was under consideration for restoration, and she focused on the marsh fish community and the human impact on the landscape. Crosby’s doctoral research investigated the resilience of coastal ecosystems to both human and climatic impacts. In this work, she collaborated with scientists, practitioners, and community members along the East Coast at field sites that spanned from Massachusetts to South Carolina. In her research, she led large teams of scientists, students, and volunteers in fieldwork.

Tony McDowell, executive director of Earthplace noted: “Sarah stood out from a talented group of candidates. Both Dick and I are confident that her experience in team leadership, watershed knowledge, and a passion for meaningful fieldwork will accelerate our Harbor Watch mission.”

Crosby has a demonstrated record of success in fundraising and grant management, both through prior work experience in development and having been awarded grants for her research from multiple government agencies and private foundations.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my overlap time at Earthplace with Dick Harris and I thank him for his commitment to a smooth transition,” said Crosby. “His dedication to the Harbor Watch mission positions us well for the future and is an inspiration that will propel us forward.”

Dr. Crosby has also enjoyed the opportunity to serve as a member of the alumni council for the maritime studies program at Mystic Seaport for the past five years. Sarah grew up locally and is excited to be back in Fairfield County where she now lives in Riverside with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Daisy.

The mission of the Harbor Watch program is to provide the people of Connecticut with the data, knowledge, and field expertise needed to ensure clean water in their streams, lakes, rivers, and harbors; educate communities about watershed issues; and train volunteers and student interns through hands-on research.

This complements the Earthplace mission and vision of a sustainable future for our community and watershed.

Earthplace offers an array of educational programming aimed at providing a diverse continuum of nature learning experiences throughout childhood and young adulthood. The Nursery School and Summer Camp, year-round nature programming and the Harbor Watch educational programs together provide a spectrum of hands-on nature-based experiential learning opportunities for all ages. Early childhood education programs offer an excellent introduction to living and learning in our natural world. Once children move on to elementary school and beyond, the Earthplace after school programs and Harbor Watch internships provide pathways to experiential learning not found in school curricula.

About Earthplace

The mission of Earthplace is to build a passion in our community for nature and the environment through education, experience and action. Founded in 1958, the nonprofit organization maintains a 74-acre wildlife sanctuary, an interactive nature museum and live animal exhibits. Earthplace hosts public nature environmental learning programs and events for children and adults and is home to an accredited nursery school and the Harbor Watch water quality research laboratory.

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