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Lake Hopatcong Foundation selected to participate in Smithsonian’s “Museum on Main Street” program

Students & Foundation Collaborate on Digital History Effort Through “Stories from Main Street: Youth Engagement and Skill-Building” Program

LAKE HOPATCONG, NJ – The Lake Hopatcong Foundation has been selected to participate in a Smithsonian Institution program that provides funding and resources to allow young people to discover and digitally document their community history.

The program, “Stories from Main Street: Youth Engagement and Skill-Building,” is an arm of Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street project. Since 2012, hundreds of young people in 15 states have created digital stories about their community and shared them online through the YES program.

The Foundation will work with students from the Academy for Environmental Science at Jefferson Township High School. Students Veronica Carrion, Kailey Pasquariello, and Matthew Sinchi will develop three short videos which will examine the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the widespread 2019 Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) on Lake Hopatcong that curtailed recreational use of the lake for almost a year.

This ties in with the theme of the Smithsonian’s “Water/Ways” exhibition, which the Foundation hosted in 2019 and which explores water a an essential component of life on our planet, environmentally, culturally, and historically.

“The Lake Hopatcong Foundation is delighted to provide this unique storytelling opportunity to local students about this unprecedented event,” said Lake Hopatcong Foundation Grants and Program Director Donna Macalle-Holly.  “We are pleased to continue to collaborate with the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street to educate the public about the importance of protecting our waterways.”

In preparation for this project, the student team is seeking photographs and video of the 2019 HAB event for possible use in the digital stories. Submissions can be emailed to: yesstories@lakehopatcongfoundation.org

“Stories: YES is an incredible program that motivates students to learn about their communities, document local history, and foster important discussions about their community’s future,” said Smithsonian’s Stories: YES Program Coordinator Sydney Thatcher. “The Academy of Environmental Science students have already been hard at work on this project and I am looking forward to seeing what story they have to share.”

The student project will be showcased in virtual program hosted by the Foundation this spring and on Museum on Main Street’s website.

“By presenting this story in our YES video, we aim to show the full effect the HAB had on the lake and community,” said student Matthew Sinchi. “We hope showing the many hardships caused by the HAB will encourage people to take action to protect our waters.”

YES is generously provided to Museum on Main Street with internal Smithsonian Institution support from the Smithsonian Youth Access Grants Program.

Museum on Main Street is a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and state humanities councils. It was created to serve museums, libraries, and historical societies in rural areas, where one-fifth of all Americans live.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for over 65 years. It connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.

For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, click here.

The Lake Hopatcong Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to protecting the lake environment and enhancing the lake experience by bringing together public and private resources to encourage a culture of sustainability and stewardship on and around New Jersey’s largest lake, for this and future generations

To learn more, click here.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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