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The Next Generation of Environmental Stewards


The value of educating children about their local environment is never more apparent then during our annual visit to the Bank Street School for Children, where we spend a morning each winter visiting two classes of bright students. This year Junior Council member Toren Kutnick joined me on our annual visit, when despite their young ages of 7 and 8, the students displayed extensive knowledge of local fish species, and both past and present threats to the Hudson River.

Cocoa powder, soy sauce, and food coloring represented pollutants including sediment runoff, oil, industrial pollution, and fertilizer, allowing the kids to simulate point and non-point pollution sources, including oil, sediment runoff, industrial pollution, and fertilizer through hands-on engagement. The students year-long study of the Hudson River culminates with participating in the Riverkeeper Sweep, an annual day of service for the Hudson River.

Bank Street School teacher and her 2014-2015 class of 7/8 after their cleanup at Sweep 2015.

Bank Street School teacher and her 2014-2015 class of 7/8 after their cleanup at Sweep 2015 with Sweep Leader Matthew Fleischmann.

As put by Riverkeeper Junior Council member Toren Kutnick, “There are few more rewarding experiences then teaching young kids about the natural wonders of the world from their own backyard. Early adoption of the principals of environmental stewardship will put this next generation on track to continue Riverkeeper’s work of the last 50 years.”

As we reflect back on 50 years defending the Hudson and its tributaries, we see a history filled with support from people of all ages across region, we’re excited to continue bringing more young people into our work by expanding our partnerships for events like the Riverkeeper Sweep. As an annual cleanup event, this year Riverkeeper is incorporating Citizen Science Data Collection Partnerships with high schools throughout the region survey the debris types at Sweep locations, with the goal of gaining insight local and regional debris trends. To find out how you can get involved with Sweep, check out the 2016 Riverkeeper Sweep page.

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