Cutchogue News: A rewarding trip to Thailand for one student

08/09/2014 6:00 AM |

Through Duke Engage, a program financed by the Duke Endowment fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, students provide assistance to communities in the U.S. and abroad. Kaitlin Penny and seven other Duke undergraduates worked with GVI, a non-governmental organization in southern Thailand, conducting biodiversity surveys in a national park rainforest. They did conservation work with sea turtles, participated in beach clean-ups and developed a code of conduct for whale shark tourism that will be used as guidelines for tourism companies in Thailand to help protect the animals’ natural migratory and breeding patterns.

Kaitlin’s favorite part of the immersion experience was teaching English to national park tour guides and environmental science at a local community center. Kaitlin said the challenge of teaching English to students who spoke little English but caught on quickly and were eager to learn made the experience very rewarding.

Although the CAST Food Drive has been canceled, donations of non-perishable food items, as well as gift cards or money for the pantry, can be deposited in bins at King Kullen or the Greenport and Southold IGAs. Donations can also be mailed to or dropped off at the CAST office, 311 Front Street, Greenport, P.O. Box 159, Greenport, NY 11944.

Happy 18th birthday to Christine Bieber on Aug. 23. Much success at St. Joseph’s College. With love, Mom, Dad and Nick.

Congrats to the following NJROTC Leadership Academy 2014 graduates: TJ Behr; Sam Basel; Walker Sutton; Andreana Mineo -— # 2 Cadet of 36 in Blue Platoon; Maria Soriano — Battalion Orienteering Honor Graduate; Skyler Grathwohl — Green Platoon Honor Graduate, B Company Commander for Graduation and #2 Cadet in Battalion out of 144 Cadets; Greg Sheryll — Battalion Color Guard Commander for Graduation and Green Platoon Academic Honor Graduate and Black Platoon. Well done!

It was a beautiful night at the New Suffolk sailboat races. Bill and Lauren Bladykas were in town helping Lauren’s parents, Joe and Barbara Fusaro, celebrate her father’s 85th birthday and her mom’s 80th. Afterward, it was off to Cape Cod with his daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, Rosie.

‘Share the Spirit,’ Our Lady of Mercy Regional School’s open house, will be Sunday, Aug. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m. Registration for one child will be free with mention of this column. For more information or to schedule visits call 734-5166 or visit

Congratulations to Ashley Gralton on her marriage to Doug Mace. God bless you and your union!

Chart your own course to explore the bounty of the North Fork with North Fork Reform Synagogue’s 8th annual North Fork Foodie Tour, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7, for $25. For details, visit or call 722-5712.

North Fork Reform Synagogue invites you to join them on Friday, Aug. 8, for family Shabbat services at Kenney’s Beach, Southold. Service begins at 7 p.m. Bring a chair. In case of inclement weather, services will be held at the NFRS’s place of worship in the Cutchogue Presbyterian Church.

Our next column is Aug. 21. Until then, enjoy your days and be a blessing!