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Informal Science Education at The River Project at the Water's Edge


"Get out there and explore!" as Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus says, and what better way than to investigate the mighty Hudson River, its denizens and the ecology of this 315-mile-long river that originates in the Adirondacks and runs down to the Battery of NYC. It also "runs up," which is why the Native Americans referred to it as Muhheakan, meaning river that flows two ways. Visit The River Project  and find out about this and other fun facts of the NY Harbor. 
The River Project, a nonprofit organization, is a marine science field station dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Hudson River ecosystem through scientific research and hands-on environmental education for all ages and grade levels. Some examples of their research include: 
  • Fish Ecology: Committed to improving the ecological environment for fishes, The River Project has been fish monitoring for 23 years. After moving to Pier 40, 23 fish traps have been established along the north side of Pier 40 on historic steamship Lilac to monitor the fish composition and relative abundance in the river and keep the fish data updated on a regular basis.
  • Fish Aggregating Device: Installed at Pier 42 pile field at Morton Street, the FAD aims to establish a more interactive relationship between the underwater animals and city dwellers, and enhance the experience of living in Hudson River Park community.
  • Water Quality Testing: Soon to launch the Citizen's Water Quality Monitoring Program. This program will provide a timely report to keep our community well-informed about sewage levels in the Hudson River, which indicates if the water is safe for boating or swimming
  • Oyster Gardening and Monitoring: in collaboration with NY/NJ Baykeeper and the New York Harbor School, seeks to increase stewardship among residents of the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary by working with volunteers from schools and community organizations in New York City.
Programs at The River Project introduce schoolchildren, teachers, families and the community to the biodiversity of the Hudson River Estuary through a guided tour of the estuary, ongoing wildlife monitoring activities, lectures and a visit to its aquarium tanks. The theme is local ecology of the region: past, present and future. See and touch estuarine animals, and investigate plant and animal survival strategies for the Hudson River communities. For a full immersion into science, animal husbandry, and aquarium mechanics, internships for high school and college students are available during the summer and fall, with limited opportunities in the winter and spring.
Marine biology interns will learn about animal identification, water chemistry, and the ecology of an estuary. Interns will assist educators on field trips and occasionally have an opportunity to run a topic station on his/her own. School program fees vary and are adjusted on a sliding scale. With a strong commitment to community education and partnerships, no group has ever been turned down due to inability to pay. Please call for specific information.
The River Project has open hours during the week where anyone can come in for a free tour. Please visit the events calendar on their website
Cathy Drew, Executive Director, founded the River Project in 1986. The dedicated staff includes Chris Anderson, Head of Education; Yu Goa, Communications Coordinator, Outreach and Fundraising; Kathryn Eddins, Educator; and Nina Zain, Head of Interns.
Photo: Students learn how to measure fish for scientific research.

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