By Judith Schwartzstein, Director of Public Affairs, Sarah Lawrence College
Oct. 26, 2016: Sarah Lawrence's Center for Urban River at the Beczak held a "Day in the Life of the Hudson River Estuary," a statewide program that connects thousands of students across New York State as they collect scientific data on one day.
On October 20, students and teachers from St. Ann's School in Brooklyn and graduate students in Sarah Lawrence College's Art of Teaching program simultaneously collected scientific data on the river with students and teachers at more than 80 sites from New York City to Albany.
Armed with seine nets, minnow pots, and water-testing gear, thousands of students caught and released many of the Hudson's 200-plus species of fish, tracked the river's tides and currents, and examined water chemistry and quality. The data collected by the students provide insights into an ecosystem spanning 160 miles of the Hudson River and New York Harbor and are posted online within a few days of the event. Sharing the data via the web helps students better understand how their piece of the river fits into the larger Hudson estuary ecosystem.
Now in its fourteenth year, "Day in the Life" is sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Hudson River Estuary Program in partnership with the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. A list of participating schools, site locations, and times can also be found on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/lands/47285.html.
Victoria Garufi, director of education at the college's Center for Urban River at Beczak, said the day provided students with an amazing learning laboratory, and students helped collect valuable scientific data for further study.
"This is a living laboratory that brings the Hudson River to life for children across the state," she said. "It also provides great teaching experience for our graduate students who are participating in the day."
Ryan Palmer, director of the Center for the Urban River, said he was thrilled to partner with the Hudson River Estuary Program on this long-standing program and looks forward to continuing to support its Action Agenda with CURB's citizen-science work, youth education programs, Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS) Station, and Yonkers's only true Hudson River access site.
"We are doing the work we set out to do," he said. "It shows that the center is thriving and succeeding not only at engaging the community, but at collecting and sharing data that will lead to future initiatives to protect the environment."
Pictured here: Victoria Garufi, director of education at Sarah Lawrence College’s Center for Urban River at Beczak, works with third-graders from St. Ann's School in Brooklyn.
Photo courtesy Judith Schwartzstein, Director of Public Affairs, Sarah Lawrence College