On a rainy October day, 32 science students from Hudson High School braved the weather and spent the day at Lasher Memorial Park in Germantown to participate in a “Day in the Life of the Hudson River” environmental education program. Using the banks of the Hudson River as an outdoor classroom the students worked with educators from the Columbia Land Conservancy to learn about the estuary and its unique characteristics. Rotating through three testing stations to collect data and capture a “snapshot” of the Hudson River on October 4, 2012.
Students working with Bonner McAllester and volunteers from Albany Law School suited up in waders and pulled a 40 foot seine net through the river, catching fish along the sandy beach area. Each fish was studied, identified, measured, and released by the students. The most exciting catches were an American eel and two hogchokers.
Jenna Dodge worked with students to measure the tides and currents, chlorophyll, and water turbidity. Turbidity, or how clear the water is, can show the intensity of plankton productivity and the quantity of decaying plant material that is available as a food source for aquatic species.
Volunteer Joan Quilty led the water chemistry testing station where students measured pH, dissolved oxygen, and salinity. These are key tests to determine the amount and types of fish, macroinvertebrates, and plants that will survive and flourish in a section of the river. Water was collected from the river and students performed hands-on experiments to test the samples.
The annual event (view the 2011 photos) is coordinated by the Hudson River Estuary Program and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory as part of “National Estuaries Week” and is designed to help students foster a lifelong learning relationship with the river. Lasher Memorial Park was one of 60 testing sites where data was collected along the Hudson River. CLC’s programs on the Hudson River are funded in part by the Everett Nack Fund, named in honor of one of Columbia County’s last river men. Through its education program, CLC provides opportunities for children and adults to explore the wonders of the natural world while gaining knowledge of basic natural science concepts.