New England Science & Sailing Receives Awards from US Sailing

Stonington, CT – New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS) and two of its employees received US Sailing Community Sailing Awards for their 2016 achievements. US Sailing is the governing body for the sport of sailing in the United States while its Community Sailing Committee promotes and supports community sailing across the country. US Sailing's Community Sailing awards recognize organizations and individuals who have done an exemplary job of promoting public access to sailing. The awards were presented yesterday, February 16, at the US Sailing Community Sailing and Training Awards Celebration in Austin, TX.

As an organization, NESS was awarded the Creative Innovations and Programming Award in recognition of its outstanding work with the NESS SEA AmeriCorps Program to create a K-12 STEM/Sailing Pathway in New London, CT. As described on the US Sailing website, "The purpose of this award is to highlight those that think 'outside the box' and through their ingenuity have further connected their organization to the community." NESS, a nationally-recognized and award-winning ocean adventure STEM education nonprofit, provides students of all ages with year-round programming that includes marine science, sailing, powerboating, and adventure sports. NESS courses support teachers' STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum with a unique combination of on-the-water and in-the-classroom lessons intended to spark curiosity, enhance learning, and encourage students to step out of their comfort zones.

NESS's President and Founder Spike Lobdell was awarded the Community Sailing Committee's Outstanding Organizational Leader award for his leadership, vision, and personal drive in leading NESS. Spike founded NESS in 2002 and now serves as its President. He established NESS with a vision of enabling everyone to get out on the water learning and having fun, regardless of financial needs. The core values of inclusiveness, along with experiential learning, self-discovery, and stewardship remain his passion in leading NESS today. Spike works as a full time volunteer for the nonprofit and recently received the National Recreation Foundation's Robert W. Crawford Achievement Prize in 2016. The Outstanding Organizational Leader award is given annually by US Sailing and "recognizes an exceptional individual who has made notable contributions to an organization which has resulted in membership growth, positive financial development, and or increased community awareness or integration."

NESS Program Director Mary Ann Horrigan was named Outstanding Program Director Award by US Sailing for her hard work on NESS programming in New London, CT. Through her encouragement and tireless efforts, over 1,000 New London youth learned to sail, many for the first time, during the 2015-2016 school year and the summer of 2016. Since 2012, Mary Ann has spearheaded NESS's partnership programs with numerous community organizations in New London and the New London Public Schools. During the summer months, Mary Ann coordinates the New London Community Boating (NLCB) summer sailing program which works with community organizations such as Camp Rotary, New London Recreation Department, Drop In Learning Center, Jennings Family Resource Center, Ocean Beach Park, New London Youth Affairs, Save Ocean Beach, and other educational and social service organizations. Mary is also active in regional and national marine science and education professional organizations, she's on the US Sailing Small Boat National Faculty, and she was instrumental in piloting the US Sailing Reach STEM curriculum, which uses sailing as the platform for teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts, and in NESS becoming a Center of Excellence Sub-hub for the Reach STEM program. Sailing presents the Outstanding Program Director Award annually to one individual in the nation that has made notable contributions to promote public access sailing in the development and organization of a sailing program.
Bill Follett, Chairman of NESS Board of Directors, said, "We are very proud to receive these recognitions by US Sailing. They underscore the strength of our programing, but most importantly the contributions of the entire NESS team." 

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New England Science & Sailing Foundation, Inc. (NESS), is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) ocean adventure education organization that engages students in experiential learning to build confidence, teamwork, and leadership skills. Marine sciences, adventure sports, powerboating, and sailing are platforms for inquiry-based learning, transformational personal discovery, teaching respect and responsibility for the sea, and creating connections with the community. NESS operates year-round with families, schools, and organizations to provide high-quality programs that blend an innovative curriculum with exciting ocean adventure activities. For more information, visit