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Ossining students gather data in DEC’s ‘Day in the Life of the Hudson River’


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Ossining High School students waded into the water with seine nets Tuesday and brought in tiny crabs, striped bass, shrimp and silversides – doing their part for research as part of “A Day in the Life of the Hudson River.”

Schools from New York City to Troy took part in the project sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Students have gathered 11 years’ worth of data on river life, water quality and chemistry through the annual event.


For many students, even those who see the river every day, it’s a first look at life under the surface.

“I wish my friends knew exactly what was in the Hudson, and what’s basically living around them,” said 14-year-old Pedro Montes de Oca II, a member of the school’s Environmental Club. “I just think it’s important to know what other species live around you.”

“Many people go to the supermarket to buy their fish,” he said. “They don’t know where the fish come from. They just eat it.”

Teacher Artie Carlucci said the students learn how to do field work and lab work as they test for nitrates, dissolved oxygen, salinity and phosphates. They also gather data on weather, tides and turbidity.

“It’s real-world science,” he said. The results are reported to Lamont-Doherty and posted on its website for the project. AP Environmental Science classes will follow up with class discussions about how habitat, food chains, weather and other factors are all related. Carlucci’s students read “The Riverkeepers” book as a summer assignment. But it’s another thing to be on, and in, the Hudson River, and see the variety of creatures living right near the shore.

Adults, too, are surprised to see the diversity and amount of life in the river, said Liz Feldman, commodore of the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club, who joined the students on the small beach at Louis Engel Waterfront Park. The fish populations vary year to year at that spot, as the salt line moves, she said, showing a handful of clam, oyster and mussel shells.

“People tell us there are no fish in this river,” she said. “We have a tank to show them there are beautiful fish living well in the Hudson River. Brackish water has great variety.”

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