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Celebrating marine life in Babylon

Environmentalist Michael Aronne of Massapequa teaches Nicholas Belletti,

Environmentalist Michael Aronne of Massapequa teaches Nicholas Belletti, 4, of Bay Shore about burrfish at the seventh annual Marine and Outdoor Recreation Expo at Captree State Park Boat Basin in Babylon. (Sept. 9, 2012) Credit: Ursula Moore

Massapequa environmentalist Michael Aronne knows the importance of preserving sea creatures.

He says he has rescued thousands that have washed ashore onto Long Island beaches.

“I have saved all types of sea creatures, and that is why it is very important for people to understand that they need to be taken care of,” said Aronne, 42.

The idea of educating individuals about preserving the environment -- especially the marine environment -- sparked a conversation years ago between Aronne and New York State Assemb. Joseph Saladino (R-Massapequa).

And that conversation motivated Saladino’s work in helping create the Marine and Outdoor Recreation Expo, which was held for the seventh time Sunday at Captree State Park Boat Basin in Babylon.

Aronne received the New York State Outstanding Saltwater Environmentalist Award at the expo. The event featured exhibits about solar energy, boating, water safety and, along with sea creatures such as lobsters, burrfish and sea horses in touch tanks,  Coast Guard and police boat demonstrations.

Saladino was thrilled to spread the message about supporting local marine businesses, boat and water safety and protecting the environment to the thousands in attendance.

“This event was designed to teach families to protect the environment and support businesses such as the charter boats on Long Island and teach children about sea creatures that live in the Long Island water,” he Saladino.

John Lewandowski Sr., of Rego Park, decided the event was the perfect opportunity to fish with his 11-year-old son John Lewandowski Jr.

“We came here to catch and release snappers. If we catch five snappers today, we will be happy,” said John Sr.

Above: Environmentalist Michael Aronne of Massapequa educates Nicholas Belletti, 4, of Bay Shore about burrfish at the seventh annual Marine and Outdoor Recreation Expo at Captree State Park Boat Basin in Babylon. (Sept. 9, 2012)

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