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Friends of the Bay director Patricia Aitken steps down

From left: Patricia Aitken, Executive Director of Friends

From left: Patricia Aitken, Executive Director of Friends of the Bay, and Eric Swenson, Executive Director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, look over a proposed map for a blueway nautical trail along Oyster Bay Town's northern shoreline. (March 22, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Danielle Finkelstein

Patricia Aitken, executive director of the Friends of the Bay conservation group, has resigned after eight years to take a job with a consulting company.

The Syosset resident will start working next week for the Melville-based environmental and land-use consulting firm of Nelson, Pope & Voorhis. She will be concentrating on community outreach and writing responses to requests for proposals from potential clients.

In her job heading the Oyster Bay hamlet-based nonprofit, Aitken has worked with the firm on its preparation of a Blueways Trail of paddling routes around the North Shore for the Town of Oyster Bay and Friends of the Bay.

“I just feel it’s time to move on,” Aitken said Thursday. “I’m enormously proud of what the organization has done, not only during my tenure but over its 25-year history. I think it’s been a very powerful force for good in the community. The harbor would definitely not look the way it does now if it had not been for Friends of the Bay. It would not be as clean. It would not be as pristine.”

Aitken said that during her tenure “the thing that I’m most proud of is finishing the watershed plan” in which North Shore municipalities and organizations came together to jointly help manage water quality in local harbors.

She said her favorite part of the job was doing monthly water quality sampling in the harbor.

Barry Lamb, the group’s president, said, “Pat’s impact as an advocate for this watershed and this community cannot be overstated.” He said the group is searching for a new executive director.

Town Supervisor John Venditto said: “Pat has truly made a difference during her very productive tenure in important areas such as water quality monitoring, wetland restoration and habitat protection. Under her watchful eye, Friends of the Bay has taken on many community awareness and educational initiatives.”

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