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For Release: Tuesday, October 16, 2018

DEC Hosts Student Scientists at 16th Annual 'Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor'

Fact-Finding Day Connects Students with River and New York Harbor

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that shorefronts up and down the Hudson River and the piers of New York Harbor are being taken over by thousands of local students armed with seine nets, minnow pots, and water testing gear to collect data and study the Hudson River's 200-plus species of fish and myriad invertebrates, track the river's tides and currents, and examine water quality and chemistry during DEC's 16th annual "A Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor" event.

"DEC's annual Day in the Life of the Hudson River and Harbor event gives students from New York City to Troy an opportunity to experience the tidal Hudson River firsthand with its diverse habitats and fishery," said Commissioner Seggos. "From the river's headwaters in the Adirondacks to Manhattan, the Hudson ecosystems are linked in ways that benefit our communities and visitors, as well as New York's economy."

New York students from first grade through college, partner with environmental education centers to collect scientific data using hands-on field techniques to capture a snapshot of the river's ecology at more than 85 sites. The data collected by students provides insights into an ecosystem spanning 160 miles of the Hudson River and New York Harbor and is posted online within a few days of the event. Participating classes represent the diversity of the school population in urban and rural communities along the estuary. This year, the program's 16th, nearly 5,000 students and 600 teachers from more than 90 schools will participate. In Albany, DEC Deputy Commissioner James Tierney joined dozens of students and teachers from the Albany City School District's Montessori Magnet School at the Corning Preserve to collect and analyze real data during this hands-exploration.

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, from the abundant Atlantic silverside, to the lined seahorse and spotted hake, each caught only once. Fluctuations in fish catches and ranges can be due to many factors including weather, tides and salinity. Most are young fish, evidence of the Hudson's importance as a nursery habitat. Students also examine the physical and chemical aspects of the river with a wide range of equipment and contraptions, such as a home-made sediment corer assembled from local hardware stores. High-tech refractometers and simple plastic hydrometers can both be used to measure salinity and find the salt front - the leading edge of dilute seawater pushing up the estuary.

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. Additionally, students will learn about the Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS), a computerized network of real-time monitoring stations extending from Manhattan to the Mohawk River. Dissolved oxygen levels, water temperature, turbidity and other parameters are measured by HRECOS every 15 minutes and posted online at HRECOS.org. These data can be used to help students better understand the dynamic factors that are constantly impacting the Hudson River ecosystem.

Now in its 16th year, "Day in the Life" is sponsored by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program, in partnership with the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, DEC Stamford Fisheries, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Cornell University's New York State Water Resources Institute and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.

For additional information about teachers and partner organizations or to schedule visits to a site, please contact event coordinator Chris Bowser. Event details can also be found on the DEC website. A list of confirmed sites for October 16th is below.

View a list of participating schools, partners, and event locations (PDF, 241 KB).

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