Scientific Data Collection Connects Students with Hudson River and New York Harbor
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that shorefronts along the Hudson River and the piers of New York Harbor are busy with activity as thousands of students equipped with seine nets, minnow pots, and water testing gear collected data on the Hudson's fish and invertebrates, tracked the river's tides and currents, and examined water chemistry and quality, during DEC's 19th annual "Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor."
"DEC's annual 'Day in the Life' event gives student scientists up and down the river the unique opportunity to experience the tidal Hudson firsthand with its diverse habitats, fish, and wildlife," said Commissioner Seggos. "From Troy to New York Harbor, the Hudson's bounty is ecologically and economically valuable to our state and much of the Atlantic coast. This annual event gives students of all ages the chance to go down to the river and learn about the environment right outside their doors and it's just one of the ways New York is inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards."
Each year, students from elementary school through college partner with DEC and environmental educators to collect scientific data using hands-on field techniques to capture a snapshot of the river's ecology at more than 60 sites along the Hudson. Data collected by students provides insight into an ecosystem spanning 160 miles of the Hudson River and New York Harbor to be posted online. Participating classes represent the diversity of New York's urban and rural school communities along the estuary. This year, an estimated 3,800 students and 200 educators from more than 68 schools participated. DEC Facebook Live also streamed seining activity from two sites: Swindler Cove in New York City and Norrie Point Environmental Center in Staatsburg.
More than a field trip, "Day in the Life" gives students the opportunity to don waders or use a fishing rod to collect data on many of the Hudson's 200-plus species of fish. Most are young fish, evidence of the Hudson's importance as a nursery habitat. Some years students catch surprising fish like seahorses, conger eels, and needle fish. Students also examine the physical and chemical aspects of the river with a wide range of equipment such as dissolved oxygen and pH kits, to high-tech refractometers and simple plastic hydrometers to measure salinity and find the salt front - the leading edge of diluted seawater pushing up the estuary.
DEC's estuary program staff connect the field day with the classroom by conducting pre-and post-visits in numerous schools that participate in Day in the Life. Lessons on-site and in the classroom fulfill state learning standards in a variety of subjects. Post-trip activities connect students to other sites through the data collected up and down the tidal Hudson. These activities can be used to help students better understand the dynamic factors constantly impacting the Hudson River ecosystem.
"A Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor" is sponsored by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program, in partnership with the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Cornell University's New York State Water Resources Institute, and NEIWPCC. The event has sparked other "Day in the Life" events on waterways throughout New York State.
For additional information about partner organizations and event details, visit the DEC website.
Hyde Park High School students collect water samples from the Hudson River at Norrie Point Environmental Center. They are measuring for DO, temperature, salinity, PH, and turbidity
RiverRun Montessori students collect samples from Hudson River seining at Albany Corning Preserve
RiverRun Montessori students collect samples with DEC staff from Hudson River seining, Albany Corning Preserve
RiverRun Montessori students evaluate samples from seining find in Hudson River, Albany Corning Preserve
RiverRun Montessori students test water samples at Albany Corning Preserve