The River Project at Pier 40

Dylan Taillie ·
22 June 2016
Science Communication | Applying Science | 

The week of June 6th brought strong winds to the east coast along with the 2nd annual workshop meeting of Billion Oyster Projects Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science (BOP CCERS) project members. This was a weeklong series of events and meetings in NYC that gave project leaders both a chance to reflect on the year's achievements and to tweak project goals for the third, and final year of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project.

The BOP CCERS project has a number of partners working transparently and cohesively to improve NY Harbor health and STEM learning for New York City middle school students.
The BOP CCERS project has a number of partners working cohesively to improve NY Harbor health and STEM learning for New York City middle school students. Credit: BOP website

One of this week’s events was a Billion Oyster Project Open House sponsored by partner organization The River Project. Judy O’Neil  and I met at Pier 40 for the Open House in The River Project’s giant science education warehouse, office and research station projecting out into the Hudson River. The River Project is a marine science field station founded in 1986 that helps to educate and expand public understanding of the New York Harbor Estuary and drive home the message that the waterways, while impaired are still healthy enough to support a diversity of species despite four centuries of neglect and abuse.

Perhaps the best way to explain the work that the River project does is through a quick photographic tour of the warehouse out on Pier 40, with a little commentary about each grouping of photos:

Oyster tank
The amazing contrast of a healthy oyster colony in a tank with relatively clean water pumped from the Hudson River with the iconic New York City skyline in the background is certainly a startling juxtaposition as well as heartening – the resilience of an ecosystem can sometimes be surprising. This photo was taken standing just inside the River Projects warehouse, looking down-river, towards the World Trade Center site and the mouth of the Harbor. Credit: Dylan Taillie

The preceding five photos show the inside of the River Project’s warehouse field station. It is lined with informational posters and tanks filled with estuarine species mostly collected from cages dropped right off Pier 40. The River Project staff, interns and volunteers use this open space to educate large groups of New Yorkers about the amazing life that still exists in the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary and the Hudson River. About 2,300 middle school students visited the River Project Field Station in 2015, with about 200 of them being students participating in the BOP CCERS project. Visiting the field station is a great way to introduce CCERS students to the organisms they may be finding in their own oyster restoration cages throughout their research project.
The preceeding five photos show the inside of the River Project’s warehouse field station. It is lined with informational posters and tanks filled with estuarine species mostly collected from cages dropped right off Pier 40. The River Project staff, interns and volunteers use this open space to educate large groups of New Yorkers about the amazing life that still exists in the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary and the Hudson River. About 2,300 middle school students visited the River Project Field Station in 2015, including students who participated as part of the BOP CCERS project. Visiting the field station is a great way to introduce CCERS students to the organisms they may be finding in their own oyster restoration cages throughout their research project. Credit: Dylan Taillie

The River Project staff introduce visitors to organisms collected and released each year during the warm months. Melissa Rex (a current staff member at TRP) introduced Judy and I to blackfish, spotted hake, pipefish, lined seahorse, oyster toadfish, and many more specimens from previous years preserved for students to inspect and learn about. This hands-on portion of the field station was incredibly informative as well as interactive and fun. Melissa explained that the River Project has many opportunities for high school and college students to intern in their Marine Biology Internship Program - a program that Melissa herself participated in and from her intimate knowledge of the ecosystem it is certainly an impactful experience.
The River Project staff introduce visitors to organisms collected and released each year during the warm months. Melissa Rex (a current staff member at TRP) introduced Judy and I to blackfish, spotted hake, pipefish, lined seahorse, oyster toadfish, and many more specimens from previous years preserved for students to inspect and learn about. This hands-on portion of the field station was incredibly informative as well as interactive and fun. Melissa explained that the River Project has many opportunities for high school and college students to intern in their Marine Biology Internship Program - a program that Melissa herself participated in and from her intimate knowledge of the ecosystem it is certainly a meaningful experience. Credit: Dylan Taillie

Photos of me standing on Pier 40 and of a clump of trash we found floating in the Hudson serve as reminders of the human influence that has pressured New York Harbor and the Hudson River for centuries. The River Project was a nice look at organisms that have kept hanging on despite human mistreatment and who are now being advocated for by middle school students throughout the city. As a partner on BOP CCERS, the River Project was an oasis of information and hope that is well worth the visit.
Photos of me standing on Pier 40 and of a clump of trash we found floating in the Hudson serve as reminders of the human influence that has pressured New York Harbor and the Hudson River for centuries. The River Project was a nice look at organisms that have kept hanging on despite human mistreatment and who are now being advocated for by middle school students throughout the city. As a partner on BOP CCERS, The River Project is on the fore-front for school groups getting hands on access and information about the river and is well worth the visit. Credit: Judy O'Neil

 

About the author

Dylan Taillie

Dylan is a Science Communicator with IAN. He has experience in various areas of visual information, science communication and technical analyses. Strengths in data management, environmental assessment and stakeholder engagement. He has worked with IAN in various positions since 2016 and enjoys fishing and hiking.



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