students wading in river with net

two boys testing water

The 7th grade team and students from our high school Environmental, AP Bio, and Project-Based Science classes (just about 100 students!) participated in the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s "A Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor" held October 14 along the shores of the Hudson River Estuary. Students worked with volunteers from the DEC and partnering organizations such as the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, The College of St. Rose, Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, and the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies to gather real-world data on environmental conditions in this unique ecosystem, which runs from Manhattan all the way up to Troy. They joined thousands of other students, from schools up and down the Hudson Valley, doing similar work at different points along the river.

For Chatham students, they enjoyed a beautiful fall day on the east bank of the Hudson River at Schodack Island State Park.The students used nets and water testing gear to study the Hudson's fish and invertebrates, track the river's tides and currents, and test its water quality. With water temperatures near room temperature, according to the digital sensors and old-school thermometers they were using, the students were eager to don waders and get into the river to seine for fish. They netted catfish, killifish, a black crappie, smallmouth bass, and some spottail shiners. They observed the current shift from northward to southward and the tide rise and fall. They also spotted a bald eagle, a belted kingfisher, some cormorants, and gulls. Tug boats plugged along pushing barges full of fuel oil and gravel and they saw a huge ship docked at the Port of Coeymans across the river to the south.. 

 The data the students collected will go into the databases of our partnering organizations to form a "snapshot" of a day in the life of the estuary, which will help scientists and students alike understand the evolving health of the river. 2021 marks the 19th year that the DEC has held this event and Chatham’s 14th year participating! Lead teachers Sandy Fischer and Tom O'Dowd are grateful to everyone who volunteered their time and expertise to provide a meaningful and fun learning experience for our students. 

High school students group photo by river