On September 12th, CHS students from Sandy Fischer’s Environmental and AP Bio classes sailed aboard the Clearwater Sloop from Dutchman’s Landing in Catskill.
Students rotated through onboard stations where they learned how to sail the ship, how to interpret navigational markers and nautical rules, what life aboard the Clearwater is like, the history of pollution and cleanup of the Hudson, and ongoing research of microplastics in the river and the danger they pose to organisms in the ecosystem. As a group they hoisted the 1000-pound sail and seined the river for fish, catching hogchokers, eels, and catfish.
A bit of unexpected adventure, during the cruise the ship got caught on a sand bar for about and hour. The captain included the students in the discussions and problem-solving that went into getting the ship free. They used the displacement and drag from a passing barge’s wake to dislodge the ship and continue on their way.
“The kids had a blast,” said Mrs. Fischer.
The sailing trip was funded by the Chatham Education Foundation of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation in support of place-based learning concerning ecological research and understanding of our local ecosystems. Students will be back at the Hudson River on October 16 to participate in the NYSDEC’s Day in the Life of the Hudson River, joining 3500 other students from the Troy Dam to Manhattan in collecting data on the health of the river.