Department of Environmental Conservation

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Teaching About the Hudson River Estuary

Seining and Cohotate Preserve
A group of students seine off the beach
at Cohotate Preserve

Investing in the Hudson's Future

Long taken for granted, ignored, and abused, in recent decades the river has been reborn thanks to concerned citizens, advocacy groups, and government. To continue this progress, a new generation must be educated to become river stewards. The Hudson River Estuary Program lends critical support to this task, working with river education providers ranging from community-based non-profit groups to classroom teachers and government agencies to promote K-12 student understanding of the Hudson.

For Classroom Teachers:

Project WET activity book

The cover of the Project
WET youth activity booklet. For
ordering information, visit
the Project WET webpage

  • Hudson River lesson plans from the Estuary Program are place-based, interdisciplinary, and aligned with state learning standards. Check them out and then complete a questionnaire to receive a free color map of the Hudson's watershed. Also available from DEC's Division of Operations are environmental education lesson plans about topics such as wildlife, conservation, and recycling, and Kids GO (Get Outside) activities to use outdoors with children.
  • Pictures of animals, plants, and other organisms common in the estuary, accompanied by facts about each one, are available in PDF format. They can supplement the Hudson River lessons or support other river learning activities.
  • Discover the Hudson River youth activity booklet - With support from partners including the Hudson River Estuary Program, DEC's Bureau of Environmental Education, Central Hudson Gas and Electric, New York Sea Grant, the New York/New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program, the Hudson River Foundation, and the Hudson River Research Reserve, Project WET added Discover the Hudson River to its Kids in Discovery series of activity booklets. Colorful and lively, it is designed for elementary students.
  • A Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor - During this annual event, thousands of students, teachers and education partners observe and sample the Hudson River Estuary on the same day, then share data online.
  • Citizen science: American eel research - Teams of scientists, students, and community volunteers catch and release young American eels using nets on Hudson River tributaries each spring.
  • Teacher workshops are available to facilitate study of the Hudson River estuary and to introduce other exciting environmental education programs including Project WET, Project WILD and Project Learning Tree.
  • Classroom Programs throughout the Hudson Valley help teachers incorporate place-based study of the river in school curriculum. For more information email
  • Hudson River Research Reserve - A range of field programs for middle and high school students as well as the general public.
Hudson Estuary Jigsaw Puzzle
The program's 21-foot puzzle depicts
the Hudson River Estuary in its entirety.

Community Programs:

  • Interpretive signs at shoreline sites along the Hudson point out ecological and historical highlights at each location.
  • Hudson River Almanac is a free e-mailed weekly journal of river observations from the High Peaks of the Adirondacks to New York Harbor. Add your own observations to the mix.
  • Environmental education in New York City, coordinated by DEC Region Two's professional environmental educators, includes the After School Conservation Club program, NYC Camps Diversity Program, professional development programs for teachers, and public outreach and school programs.
  • The Great Hudson River Estuary Fish Count is a one-day event each summer, during which naturalist and visitors at many sites along the Hudson explore the diverse, slippery, wriggly, and fascinating creatures below the river's surface.

Other Education Materials:

  • Hudson River Web Pages - The estuary program maintains web pages with introductory information on the Hudson River and the Hudson River Estuary, including a Virtual Tour of the Hudson.
  • The State of the Hudson 2015 - This illustrated report concisely describes progress and identifies ongoing problems regarding water quality, habitat, and fish and wildlife of the estuary as well as biodiversity, tributary health, and land use patterns in the Hudson's watershed.
  • Hudson River Posters - These posters make eye-catching additions to classrooms or exhibits. They are available free of charge to Hudson Valley communities, organizations, and individuals. Please click on thumbnails below for an enlarged picture:
    Hudson River Estuary poster Hudson River Bird poster Hudson River fish poster small image of Hudson River watershed map
  • Conservationist for Kids - The nature and environment magazine for kids in New York State, every issue contains information and activities about our environment and ways to explore outside.
  • Conservationist - Published six times a year, this New York State-focused magazine is packed with informative and entertaining articles, first-rate photography and stunning artwork. Articles cover topics such as fishing, hiking, recreation, travel, hunting, and nature studies.
  • Kids GO (Get Outside) - These web pages for kids point the way to great ideas and opportunities for exploring outside. Take a hike with a nature bingo card, record observations in your very own nature journal or bird book, learn about our state symbols and so much more.

Please contact the Estuary Program for more information about Hudson River education programs and resources.

More about Teaching About the Hudson River Estuary: