Whoever said that babies can’t save marine wildlife has never met 21-month-old Davis Priolo.
With help from his grandmother, Blue Point resident Jody Banaszak, Davis was able to raise $250 for the New York Marine Rescue Center at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead.
Davis, who resides in Center Moriches with mother Julia and father Peter, has used his hands, fingers, feet and a brush to paint seashells, otters and other natural wonders every Friday with Banaszak.
“I had to do something artistic with him,” Banaszak, a retired art teacher at BOCES Islip Technical Center, said. “We started painting on newspaper, and then I’d see what it looked like, and guide him a little bit to make it into something.”
After framing all 29 paintings, Banaszak contacted
the Bayport-Blue Point Public Library and requested to display her grandson’s artwork. The library agreed and shortly after, Banaszak and Davis’s parents decided to donate money from sales or donations of the nature-themed works to the nonprofit rescue center. The organization works to rescue, rehabilitate, and release seals, sea turtles, whales, dolphins and other endangered species.
“We’re very invested in nature and wildlife,” Banaszak said. “And we wanted to pick an organization that would really benefit from it. [The nonprofit] has saved so many sea turtles just this winter.”
The Priolos are passionate about preserving wildlife: the couple met while they studied environmental science at
Stony Brook University Southampton campus, Julia said. Peter has his roots in Blue Point and said he grew up on Davis Avenue.
The various artworks were on display throughout the month of February. A total of 12 paintings were sold and Banaszak received two additional donations.