Updated: October 22, 2019 01:40 PM
Created: October 22, 2019 12:25 PM
ALBANY – Five-thousand New York students from grade school to college took part in "A Day in the Life of the Hudson River and Harbor" on Tuesday.
Fourth grade students from Montessori Magnet School in Albany went to the Corning Preserve to observe things like water currents, fish counts and varieties and water chemistry. They also looked at tributaries leading into the Hudson River.
All of the activities allowed them to learn a little bit more about the ecosystem that exists right in our backyard.
"We found out it's a pumpkin seed fish," student scientist Zaria Pledger-Patillo said.
Pledger-Patillo and her classmates were using keys to identify fish caught in that section of the river at one of the four stations set up around the boat launch.
"I was just at a station about chemistry and we were learning about like if the water in the Hudson River is salty and how salty it is and stuff," student scientist Lena Olshan said after completing a different station.
The Corning Preserve was one of 100 locations along the Hudson River where students collected data on Tuesday.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and student scientists use that data to track the changing conditions of the Hudson River over the years.
Experts said we've come a long way from 1964, when the government designated part of the river as conduit for industrial waste.
"This is a swimmable river now and it's no longer a conduit for industrial waste. It's a place that everybody wants to be on and be in," DEC Deputy Commissioner of Water Resources Jim Tierney said. "That's something that when I see this it gives me a lot of pride that we're making progress and then we're passing it forward to the next generation to bring it even further than we've gotten to already."
Even if science isn't in their futures, opportunities like these can make a lasting impact.
"No matter what a kid grows up to do I think having those connections to the natural world are really crucial," DEC Bureau of Ecosystem Health biologist Sean Madden said. "It turns these lights on and this excitement, yeah, and I like to, as a biologist, hope that it inspires - even if they don't go onto careers in biology, but at least they've remembered that connection and it sort of shapes the rest of their lives."
To learn more about data collected at the Corning Preserve and the rest of the sites, visit the "A Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor" website.
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