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Sep 2, 2014 3:42 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Couple Donates $50K To East Quogue Elementary Science Program

Sep 3, 2014 8:27 AM

East Quogue Elementary School sixth-graders will get to experience the creatures of the deep in a brand new way this year: through a 150-gallon saltwater tank that will soon be put on display thanks to a $50,000 donation to the Central Avenue school’s science program.

The donation from Kevin and Lynn Crowe of Quogue was accepted by the Board of Education during its August 26 meeting, specifically to fund what is being called the East Quogue Science Program. School officials expect to order the new tank—and its future inhabitants—within the next few weeks.

“In my 25 years in education, I have never seen anything quite like this,” said Principal Robert Long, referring to the donation. “We are so grateful and so excited.”

Over the summer, Mr. Long began meeting with the Crowes and a small committee that included Jackie Martin, a sixth grade science teacher at the school, and Diane and Chris Gobler, local scientists who have children attending the district. Ms. Gobler also serves on the Board of Education. Working together, they made an outline for a new marine science program that will incorporate field trips, guest speakers, field studies, as well as in-class experiments utilizing the specimens that will be kept in the saltwater tank, which will be placed in the foyer outside the main office.

Mr. Long explained that students will be collecting fish and other sea life to add to the tank throughout the school year. He also noted that officials will purchase the tank from Living Art Aquariums in East Quogue, and work with company experts before deciding what type of fish will be its first inhabitants. Mr. Long said the exact cost of the tank will depend largely on the types of specimens that will be put on display; the remainder of the funding will be set aside for the guest speakers, field trips and other equipment.

“We wanted to give students the chance to experience science in the classroom and in the field,” Mr. Crowe said when reached last week. “This program is a nice combination of both.”

Though neither he nor his wife have a direct connection to the East Quogue school, Mr. Crowe said they were motivated to contact administrators at the end last year. He explained that they have always wanted to stay involved with the educational community even if it is to assist those who live outside of Quogue, where he has resided, on a part-time basis, since 1985. Prior to moving to the village full time in the early 2000s, he and his wife used to make similar donations to parochial schools in Brooklyn and Queens.

East Quogue students, meanwhile, will also have access to new equipment—including microscopes, flexible cameras and probes—to test the water quality in the tank and in the field. The new program will focus on sixth-graders this year, though Mr. Long noted that the entire school will benefit from the donation. Each grade will participate in field trips and experiments that align with the science curriculum, he explained.

“We thought, living here in a water community, that it’s important for the kids to understand what’s happening in our local waters,” Mr. Long said.

The Crowes, who have two adult sons who have pursued careers in science, said they are excited to fund the new program in East Quogue.

“We’ve always been interested in supporting education,” Mr. Crowe said, “especially in the fields of science and mathematics. This seemed like the perfect partnership.”

A retired financial advisor and owner of Essex Corporation in New York City, Mr. Crowe said he plans to fund the program for years to come, though he is not sure what the school will need.

“The goal of the program is to spark an interest in science for some students,” he said. “Hopefully, that interest will grow in high school and college, and maybe into a career.”

He also noted that he and his wife would like to remain involved and keep in contact with Mr. Long to see how the lessons are coming together and what funds the school will need to keep the initiative going in the future.

In fact, he even plans to drop in at some point to observe an experiment.

“I’d love to be a fly on the wall,” Mr. Crowe said. “The whole idea of marine science and astronomy and the tides have always been a favorite interest of mine.”

Students will be learning the fundamentals of biology, chemistry, earth science, astronomy and physics, and how these subjects apply to the East End bay system, according to Mr. Long. The program is designed to give students, particularly sixth-graders, a strong foundation in science.

On Wednesday, September 17, students will take their first trip with the Group for the East End to explore an estuary near the Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays. Mr. Long said those students will be working with the nonprofit organization to learn how humans interact with and affect estuaries, and what they can do to keep them healthy. Each lesson in the new science program will incorporate a hands-on experiment, according to the principal.

“There are so many things that go along with the program,” Mr. Long said. “It’s really unbelievable.”

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Now, this is a great example of community support and philanthropy--and it couldn't happen to a better school! Congratulations "Wildcats" and thank you Crowe family for your wonderful generosity and community spirit.
By Capt. Phil (64), Southampton on Sep 2, 14 3:58 PM
3 members liked this comment
Thank you, Mr and Mrs Crowe! This is such an amazingly generous donation and will mean so much to the students of East Quogue! I couldn't agree more with Capt. Phil when he says that it couldn't have happened to a better school! I look forward to seeing the children participate in this wonderful experience!
By eqmomof3 (22), EAST QUOGUE on Sep 2, 14 5:54 PM
3 members liked this comment
Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Crowe. Your generosity is overwhelming. Thank you for opening doors for the students. We will make you proud! What is not mentioned in the article is that the donationwill also be funding scholarships to high school seniors who graduate from the East Quogue School, excel in the area of science and choose science a a course of study in college. They are providing for after school club opportunities for elementary students as well. The expectation is that this program will ...more
By Eqeducation (8), East Quogue on Sep 2, 14 8:02 PM
3 members liked this comment
Thank you to this generous family! We are so excited for our children and the children of the community to have this awesome experience!
By THudson (1), East quogue on Sep 2, 14 9:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wow, so nice to hear good news like this. The kids are very fortunate.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Sep 2, 14 10:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wow, thank you for such a generous donation! Thank you Crowe family. My children will be attending that school shortly and this is such a great addition.
By LocalEnthusiast (23), East Quogue on Sep 4, 14 11:31 AM