Locally, Newburyport elementary and middle schools will conduct research at the Mass Audubon Refuge and the Joppa Flats as part of school projects.
"It's exciting on a variety of levels. It helps us to collect data, make informed decisions and improve wetlands," Liz Duff, education coordinator for Mass Audubon, said. "They learn a valuable lesson and are acting as stewards. It's empowering to them and helpful to us all."
Over the next four years, Polsky hopes to provide answers to how well we communities are planning and zoning neighborhoods while protecting natural ecosystems.
"I'm not going at this like we have the right answer about the suburban landscape," Polsky said. "It's complicated."