Executive Director Highlight

18th Annual Bethpage

Best of Long Island Contest

CCE Suffolk is incredibly honored to be nominated in multiple categories for the 18th Annual Bethpage Best of Long Island Contest!

Your support means the world to us, and it takes just a moment to make a big difference. Show your love for CCE Suffolk and vote using the links below!

CCE Suffolk - Best Not For Profit

Peconic Dunes - Best Camp

Suffolk County Farm - Best Camp

Suffolk County Farm - Best in Family Amusement

Suffolk County Farm - Best Petting Zoo

Little Farmers Preschool - Best Preschool

Celebrating the New

Suffolk County

Farm & Education Center Entryway

In the beginning of September, we had the privilege of hosting National Grid, elected representatives from the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate, members of the Suffolk County Legislature, as well as esteemed members of the Suffolk County Department of Public Works to inaugurate the brand-new entrance to the Suffolk County Farm & Education Center!

This impressive entrance includes an interactive walkway that beautifully showcases each of our program areas. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to National Grid for generously funding the construction of this remarkable addition. Check it out during your upcoming visit to the farm!

Support for the Suffolk County Farm & Education Center’s renovations comes from Project C, an initiative by National Grid aimed at promoting sustainability programs, neighborhood development projects, grants, and other community-oriented endeavors throughout New York State.

CCE Suffolk also extends its genuine appreciation to both the elected officials and our esteemed collaborators who joined us for this event. The Suffolk County Farm & Education Center and all CCE Suffolk programs greatly value and deeply appreciate your presence and steadfast support.

2023 Suffolk County Hispanic Heritage Celebration

We had an awesome time at the 2023 Suffolk County Hispanic Heritage Celebration!

During this event, I was honored alongside other esteemed leaders from the Hispanic community, recognizing their efforts to support Long Island’s rapidly growing Spanish-speaking population.

The celebration, hosted by Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone in collaboration with the Office of Minority Affairs and the Hispanic Advisory Board of Suffolk County, featured captivating cultural performances, delicious food, and a wide array of engaging activities.

HIA-LI Annual Business Achievement Awards

Thank you to the HIA-LI for honoring CCE Suffolk as a finalist in the Non Profit category during their 29th Annual Business Achievement Awards! Accepting the award on behalf of CCE Suffolk was Jacob Ocon, Communications Coordinator.

The HIA-LI has been a voice for Long Island business for more than 40 years, providing a forum for business leaders to connect, problem solve, and obtain advice on critical issues.

DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Belonging) Updates

Meeting with Masaaki Maeda, VP & Assistant Secretary of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of NY

We were honored to meet with Masaaki Maeda, VP & Assistant Secretary of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry NY. The JCCI NY supports the business relationships that flourish between the Japanese and American communities in New York, and works to close cultural gaps that hinder complete economic cooperation.

We explored various subjects during our discussions, including the possibility of partnering with the Local FISH program and coordinating a tour of agricultural sites on Long Island for members of JCCI NY. We are excited about the prospect of deepening this collaboration in the future!

CCE Suffolk on En Vivo 1440AM / 93.3FM

CCE Suffolk has made multiple appearances on En Vivo, Long Island's newest Spanish-language radio station!

Executive Director Vanessa Lockel made two appearances on the station. During her initial appearance, she delivered a perceptive overview of CCE Suffolk programs and services. In her second appearance, she discussed the extensive support provided to local farms through the Agriculture Program.

Dinah Torres-Castro, Bilingual Family Well-Being Educator with the Community Education Program, also appeared on the station to discuss the ongoing Parent Cafe, which provides free, research-based educational sessions conducted by expert staff.

Suffolk County Advisory

Board Members Celebrate

International Day of Peace at the

Suffolk County Farm

Sonia Spar, President of the CCE Suffolk Board of Directors, recently hosted a gathering at the Suffolk County Farm & Education Center to honor International Day of Peace, established in 1981 by the United Nations. Members of Suffolk County Advisory Boards and organizations from a wide variety of sectors and specialties joined together to recognize and strengthen the ideals of peace.

Thank you to all that attended!

Spotlight on Our Exceptional Bilingual Educators & Staff

CCE Suffolk extends its sincere thanks to our incredible team of 20+ bilingual educators, who play a vital role in our mission to empower our community through education and outreach!

These staff are fluent in multiple languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Turkish, ensuring that information and resources across all of our program areas are accessible to as many residents as possible. This commitment to linguistic diversity enhances our efforts and fosters stronger connections within our community.

As Long Island’s communities become increasingly diverse and interconnected, bilingual educators bridge language barriers and create an environment where everyone's voice can be heard.

Parent Cafes

Offered in Spanish

The next series of the Community Education program's Parent Cafes is ongoing, featuring sessions in Spanish dedicated to assisting families within our Hispanic communities.

Covering a mix of different topics, this program helps build a supportive community for families to express concerns and acquire invaluable insights. 

Learn more/Más información

Program Updates


Tour of Long Island Ag Sites with the Long Island Farm Bureau & Members of the NYS Legislature

CCE Suffolk Executive Director Vanessa Lockel, along with New York State Assembly members Chris Tague, Michael Fitzpatrick, and Jodi Giglio, as well as New York State Senate members Michelle Hinchey and George Borrello, embarked on the 5th annual agricultural tour of various Long Island agricultural sites!

Educators and researchers from the CCE Suffolk Agriculture Program and Marine Program were also present at each venue, sharing insights on how our organization contributes to the growth of the regional agriculture and aquaculture sectors.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the locations that warmly welcomed us during this tour. We also want to express our appreciation to the Long Island Farm Bureau for organizing this exceptional journey on behalf of the farm community!

Harvest of Grape Trials at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center

It's that time of year again; grape harvest at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center!

At LIHREC, Viticulture Researcher Alice Wise works on a research vineyard planting and studying uncommon grape varieties. Her findings are instrumental in advising Long Island vineyards, ultimately enhancing the quality of the end product: exquisite Long Island wines.

"Gardening for Life" Event

Featuring Doug Tallamy

We had an excellent community gardening event at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum, featuring professor and author Doug Tallamy!

Dr. Tallamy's work centers around revolutionizing the way people garden and landscape to benefit wildlife and communities, with a particular focus on insects and natural plantings.

Master Gardeners

Annual Awards

About 75 Master Gardeners attended the Annual Awards Lunch at the Suffolk County Farm, including Dava Stravinski who has been a Cornell Cooperative Extension volunteer for 25 years!

Also recognized were the many Master Gardeners who have contributed their initial 125 hours of service to their communities throughout Suffolk County. These Master Gardeners offer gardening programs at libraries, as well as volunteer at school gardens, food security community gardens, and pollinator gardens. They assist local groups such as Island Harvest, Suffolk Alliance for Pollinators and the Long Island Native Plant Initiative.

Congratulations to all that were honored!

"Pick Your Own" Farm List

Explore this compilation of local farms where you can personally harvest your own produce, courtesy of the CCE Suffolk Agriculture Program!

With the arrival of fall, a bounty of delectable fruits and vegetables such as apples, brussels sprouts, peas, and more are now in season.

Prior to planning your visit to the farm, we recommend calling ahead or checking the website (if available).

Find the Pick Your Own farm list here

Board of Directors Meeting

Held at LIHREC

Before our September meeting of the CCE Suffolk Board of Directors, our board members had the pleasure of embarking on a tour of the Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center (LIHREC)!

Community Education

Meatless Recipe Demonstration at Brentwood School District

The Community Education Program was at Brentwood School District helping food service staff incorporate a new meatless recipe into the district’s lunch menu!

Nutrition Educators Scenquetta Dixon, Anthony Garcia, and Connie Zhu performed a cooking demonstration for 160 kitchen employees, preparing a meatless spaghetti and meatball recipe using red kidney beans and breadcrumbs. Additionally, they highlighted the numerous advantages of incorporating meatless options into one's diet.

Food service staff were highly impressed with the recipe and expressed their interest in adding it to the school menu in the future!

Supporting Youth Mental Health Fall Series

Starting this month, Community Education launched a special series, “Supporting Youth Mental Health.” These workshops are aimed at parents, caregivers, and professionals who are looking to learn more about current mental health issues facing youth and what they can do to begin conversations and support young people in their lives.

These workshops provide the latest research-based information and allow for discussion, questions, and answers.

Stay tuned for more dates and topics continuing this fall!

For questions, please contact Cara Sultan | [email protected]

Recognizing and Managing Anxiety 

With anxiety on the rise over the past decade and the continued effects of COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen even more levels of stress in children and teens. This workshop helps parents explore the definition of anxiety and how to distinguish anxiety from normal worries. 

Friday, October 13, 2023, 12-1pm 

Register here

Cultivating Resilient Teens 

Teenagers today face many stressors. As such, the number of adolescents reporting poor mental health has been on the rise. In this workshop, participants will learn science backed strategies to help parents untangle and support their teenagers’ emotional lives. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023, 12-1pm 

Register here

Bilingual Nutrition Education Series

in Huntington

With funding through the Huntington Townwide Grant, the team provided a bilingual (Spanish) general nutrition education series and provided vouchers for purchase of fruits and vegetables, redeemable at Town of Huntington Farmers Market stands as well as C-Town Supermarket

Participants were excited to share their changes throughout the weeks as well as challenges. 

The team also began holding “Nutrition at the Laundromat” sessions, providing produce vouchers and short education sessions at a local laundromat.

Check out the Family Wellness Tips Podcast!

From advice on stretching your grocery budget to strategies for getting kids to eat a healthy diet, there's plenty to learn from the Community Education program's Family Wellness Tips podcast!

Listen here

The Parent Cafe:

Free Parenting Classes

In today's parenting landscape, establishing a supportive community is paramount for families, providing an avenue to express concerns and acquire invaluable insights.

Find your community at the Parent Cafe!

Through this program, families can access free, research-based educational sessions conducted by expert Parent Educators, Nutrition Educators, Lactation Consultants, and more. As an added treat, gifts and light refreshments accompany these informative gatherings!

Available both online and in-person, the workshops cover different topics each week. Certificates of completion will be given to those who attend all programs.

Childcare is available!

Click the links below to learn more/register!

Online Parent Education

Topics include: Living with Toddlers, Coping with Toilet Learning, Positive Discipline, and more

Online Parent & Nutrition Education

Topics include: Parent Education topics, plus Nutrition for Toddlers & Preschoolers, Breastfeeding Q&As, and more.

In-Person Parent & Nutrition Education

Held at the CCE Suffolk offices in Riverhead:

423 Griffing Avenue, First Floor Meeting Room

Thank you to the Cabrini Health Foundation for funding this program to improve the health of mothers and their babies through parenting & nutrition education. Through this partnership, we’re working to support vulnerable parents & children throughout Suffolk County!

Check out some press coverage of this amazing initiative!

Long Island Media Group



Ask the Family Educator

by Maxine Cohen, Parent Educator

Should my children be responsible for chores around the home?

The fall season is in full swing and we all have busy schedules. Children can contribute their time and effort in helping the family by doing household chores. Teaching your children at an early age that each family member is important and needs to pitch in will help them feel needed and empowered. Even a toddler can help by putting toys away at the end of a play period. Pre-school aged children can help set a dinner table, starting with placement of napkins, cutlery, and unbreakable dinnerware. Save the breakable pieces until they mature a bit.

If you catch children early on and praise them for their involvement, they are usually happy and eager to help. This builds their sense of importance and increases their self-esteem. As they grow, the chores can be expanded to caring for their own bedroom, making the bed and tidying the room, and gradually helping with other chores inside and outside of the home.

Children thrive when they have structure, routine, and clear expectations. Their confidence grows when their parents acknowledge and praise them for helping with household tasks. You might think that it is oftentimes more expedient to do the task yourself rather than remind your child, but in the long run having your child involved actually improves your family’s life. You are helping them to develop time management ability. Caring and being productive in their home gradually expands into caring and being productive in their school and community. These life skills will serve them well as they grow into adulthood.

Suffolk County Farm & 4-H

First Day of Little Farmers Preschool

Educators at the Suffolk County Farm welcomed the Little Farmers back for another year of this amazing preschool!

At Little Farmer’s Preschool, children become independent learners through free play, guided exploration, and exposure to all corners of the farm. Students will spend most days entirely outside, with learning themes of agriculture, animal sciences, history, STEM, healthy living, and life skills.

National Grid Project C Volunteers Visit the Farm

National Grid employees joined us at the farm once again, volunteering their time and effort to enhance the Nature Explore Classroom by staining decks and benches, decorating the new entrance walkway with native plantings, and even constructing a ramp for improved accessibility at the Barnyard Bites Cafe deck!

CCE Suffolk expresses profound gratitude to National Grid and its employees for their unwavering commitment to community service. These efforts come as part of Project C, an initiative by National Grid that promotes sustainability programs, neighborhood development projects, grants, and many other community-centric initiatives throughout the state of New York.


Suffolk County Stormwater Management Program at Setauket Harbor Day

The Suffolk County Stormwater Management Program was in attendance for Setauket Harbor Day!

The event included live music, environmental lessons, and free boat rides at the hamlet’s dock and beach.

ArtSea Programs at

Tiana Bayside

Looking for something fun, educational & creative in the local marine environment for your youngsters this October? Check out the ArtSea Programs at Tiana Bayside!

Utilizing the amazing coastal lands surrounding the facility, students will be led by local artist, Carolyn Munaco, through habitat exploration, inspiration gathering, and treasure collecting to be used in creating art.

ArtSea After School (8-12 yrs old) 

Tuesdays beginning 10/3 through 10/24 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm


ArtSea After School (6-9 yrs old)

Wednesdays beginning 10/4 through 10/25 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm


ArtSea Shelloween 

4:00pm - 5:30pm

10/12 | Register

10/19 | Register

10/26 | Register

Annual SPAT Picnic

We had an awesome time at the annual Marine Program SPAT Picnic!

The volunteers and staff that make this amazing program possible came together to enjoy great food, great music, and to reflect on how much the program has grown.

The SPAT (Suffolk Project in Aquaculture Training) Program grows minuscule shellfish in containment, away from predators, until they reach an adult size. Then, the spawn is released into local creeks and bays to bolster shellfish populations!

Learn more

100 Women of Huntington Visit

FLUPSY Site in Northport

Members of 100 Women of Huntington visited the Marine Program FLUPSY site in Northport, checking out some of the oysters being grown there to repopulate local waterways.

100 Women of Huntington recently made a very generous donation of $14,100 to support this project into the future. We are incredibly grateful for their support in our mission to restore our native shellfish populations!

A FLUPSY, or Floating Upweller System, is used to grow shellfish while protecting them from predators until they are large enough to survive in open waters. FLUPSYs provide increased water flow for the shellfish to promote growth and reduce fouling.

Learn more about 100 Women of Huntington

Members of the NYS Legislature visit

Gold Star Battalion Beach

Even in the midst of rainy weather, Assemblyman Keith Brown and Senator Mario Mattera had an excellent visit to our Marine Program site situated at Gold Star Battalion Beach in Huntington!

In the company of representatives from the Town of Huntington, Village of Northport, and the Rotary Club of Huntington, Assemblyman Brown and Senator Mattera were briefed on the latest developments in several projects spearheaded by the Northwestern Suffolk Marine Education Program.

The Northwestern Suffolk Marine Education Program also collaborates with the Stormwater Management team to facilitate classroom & field trip education, as well as rain garden education initiatives. These efforts aim to foster local stewardship and combat pathogen and nutrient pollution in our aquatic ecosystems.

Learn more

Donate Here

Your support enables us to continue to be a vital and necessary part of our county’s future. Your gift today helps ensure our programs of tomorrow.

Board Member Spotlight

Jason A Neal

With a wealth of experience in public administration, youth development, and community development, Jason Neal stands as a dedicated professional in the field of nonprofit management. His journey has been marked by a passion for fostering positive change and empowerment within communities.

A proud alumnus of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Adelphi University, Jason holds a Certificate in Organizational and Community Leadership. This academic achievement reflects his commitment to acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary for effective leadership in the nonprofit sector.

As a community and human services professional, Jason has demonstrated a remarkable dedication to improving the lives of others. His involvement in the Board of Directors Finance Committee underscores his commitment to financial stewardship and strategic decision-making within the organizations he serves. Additionally, he lends his expertise to the Family Health and Wellness Program Advisory Committee, contributing valuable insights to initiatives that enhance the well-being of families within the community.

In every role he undertakes, Jason Neal consistently demonstrates a commitment to the principles of community development and youth empowerment. His multifaceted skill set, coupled with his passion for positive social change, makes him a valuable member of the CCE Suffolk Board of Directors.

Upcoming Events

Goat Yoga

Saturday, October 7, 2023, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Saturday, October 21, 2023, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Saturday, November 4, 2023, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Enjoy yoga on the farm with our friendly goats. Goat yoga is a fun twist to the more traditional flow. End your day in downward dog while having some laughs. All levels are welcome to goat yoga, but best for ages 8 and up. Taught by certified instructors.

Please bring your own:

  • Yoga mat
  • Water bottle

Learn More/Register

Private Sunset Wagon Rides at the Suffolk County Farm

Thursday, October 12, 2023, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Monday, October 16, 2023, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Monday, October 23, 2023, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Thursday, October 26, 2023, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Monday, October 30, 2023, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

+ more

Experience the farm all to yourself with a private group sunset tour!

The experience includes personal farm tour guides, wagon ride, animal visit, and campfire! Close toed shoes are required to enter goat pens so please dress accordingly. You are more than welcome to bring your own s’mores supplies and non-alcoholic beverages.

$350 per group-Up to 20 participants Children under 3 are free and do not count towards head count. Additional wagon can be purchased for $150.

Please register at least two weeks prior to schedule your group. Don’t wait, dates fill fast!

Learn more

Home Canning Workshops

Saturday, October 14, 2023, 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Saturday, November 4, 2023, 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Learn how to preserve your harvest!

At the Food Preservation Home Canning Workshop, you'll learn essential techniques for water bath canning, freezing, and drying, while ensuring the safety of your preserved goods.

Workshop Schedule and Themes:

October 14th - Bruschetta in a Jar/Raspberry Preserves

November 4th - Apple Sauce/Mom's Apple Pie in a Jar

These workshops will be held at the CCE Suffolk office located at 423 Griffing Avenue in Riverhead. Register by email to Juana Huertas at [email protected].

Learn more

Play Time, Learn Time

Monday, October 16, 2023, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Monday, October 23, 2023, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Monday, October 30, 2023, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Monday, November 6, 2023, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Bring your little ones (ages 1-5, siblings welcome) to discover our Nature Explore Classroom, which allows for plenty of messy play, building and interactive art exploration as well as a music and movement area.

While your little ones play nearby, our Parent Educators will be available to answer your parenting questions.

The Nature Explore Classroom Certification Program is a nationwide effort that acknowledges institutions fostering outdoor classrooms and offering comprehensive programs that enable children to incorporate the natural environment into their learning experiences. The Suffolk County Farm's Nature Explore Classroom is a longstanding testament to this initiative, now in its 13th year of certification.

Learn more

2023 Living Landscapes Conference

Join us for the Living Landscapes Conference!

This full-day, in-person workshop explores the beauty of designed landscapes while emphasizing their ecological role.

Featuring workshops on compost, native ground covers, reducing light pollution, and more!

Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Time: 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) available.

Learn more/Register

Dog Days at the Farm

Sunday, October 22, 2023, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

One of the best days of the year!

Meet dog rescues, try out a variety of dog sports (agility, rally, scentwork, etc), learn about therapy dogs, canine good citizen, trick and farm dog certifications, play games, pick a pumpkin, costume contest, take a wagon ride and do barks and crafts. Fun for all!

Dogs must be up to date on their rabies vaccination (proof required at entrance), leashed (no retractable leashes) and under control at all times. Risk waivers must be signed upon entering. Disruptive (aggressive and barking) dogs will be asked to leave.

We will provide a quiet area for you and your dog. Feel free to bring a crate and spend the day. Please be respectful of personal space for all of our canine friends.

Our snack bar will be open for lunch.

Admission $15 per person - Free bandana for every dog!

Bring a donation of dog food or toys for local animal shelters.

Call 631-852-4600 for more information 

Brewery Lecture Series

Wednesday, October 25, 2023, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Meet the CCE Marine team for casual and fun presentations about our work and learn how you can give Back to the Bays!

Algae Production Specialist & Hatchery Manager Josh Perry will be at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. for a presentation on the ribbed muscle aquaculture

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. | 42155 Main Road, Peconic

Learn more/Register

Truck or Treat

Saturday, October 28, 2023, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Come join for our Truck or Treat Food Truck Derby!

Admission tickets offer an array of exciting activities:

•Trick or treating around the farm

•Up-close visits with farm animals

•Engaging kids crafts

•Unlimited wagon rides

•Conquering the twists and turns of the corn maze

•Enjoying family-oriented games and activities

Plus, indulge your taste buds with an assortment of delectable food and beverage trucks!

And of course, don’t forget your costume!

Learn more/Buy tickets

Back to the Bays

CCE Suffolk Marine Program

Become a Back to the Bays volunteer!

The mission of Back to the Bays is to increase stakeholder engagement in CCE Marine program water quality protection initiatives, habitat improvement projects, shellfish and finfish research and restoration, and youth and community education experiences.

By providing time, energy, and/or monetary support, local communities and individuals alike can play a significant part in the success and expansion of the many important initiatives of CCE’s Marine Program. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome!

Check out the Back to the Bays calendar for upcoming volunteer events, workshops, and more!

NOTE: Anyone who has already volunteered or plans to volunteer more than 24 hours of service in a given year, must become a registered volunteer and complete the necessary paperwork and background check. Fill out Volunteer Form and complete the Volunteer Application available here. Submit by email to Volunteer Coordinator, Hazel Wodehouse, at [email protected].

More about Back to the Bays

View All Employment & Volunteer Opportunities Here

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Have something you'd like included in our monthly newsletter? Send submissions to

Jacob Ocon, Communications Coordinator

[email protected]