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Notes of welcome and congratulations

JasonRiverkeeper

Jason Ratchford with Capt. John Lipscomb. (Photo courtesy SUNY Cobleskill)
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We pause briefly, the week before our 2017 water quality sampling season begins, to acknowledge, thank and welcome some of the people who have contributed to our project’s success of late. We are fortunate to work with many partners, including dozens of individual community scientists and 60 organizations. These notes are about some of those that work most closely with us and our longtime science partners at CUNY Queens College and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Welcome to Rebecca Martin, a fantastic community advocate, who will build on her work supporting Riverkeeper’s successful lobbying efforts this Spring, which resulted in historic increases in clean water investments. She will focus on special projects, including communications and outreach related to Riverkeeper’s water quality reports, and helping certain communities start working with our Source Water Protection Scorecard. Rebecca is an internationally known jazz singer who founded and runs Kingstoncitizens.org.

Welcome to Sebastian Pillitteri, a Bard College Center for Environmental Policy graduate who comes to us after having coordinated citizen science macroinvertebrate monitoring projects for the Institute of Nature and Society of Oaxaca. He will join our team through the sampling season to coordinate our growing community science projects, and to process samples in our Kingston lab.

Welcome back John Gotto, who will expand his volunteer role this season by assisting us two days a month in the Kingston lab, as we process samples for the Catskill, Esopus, Rondout and Wallkill projects. John is a Ph.D. biologist and professor who volunteers with the Wallkill River Watershed Alliance, including in the identification of algal genera associated with last summer’s cyanobacteria blooms.

Angel Montero takes dissolved oxygen readings in the East River in 2016. (Photo by Leah Rae / Riverkeeper)

Welcome back to the many students working with Greg O’Mullan at CUNY Queens who assist in collecting and analyzing data we gather for various research and monitoring projects. These include Angel Montero and Anna Turercaia, who are assisting with our East River projects; Elizabeth Farrell, who is studying land use and microbial DNA across multiple watersheds; Roman Reichert, who is studying microbial DNA in the Hudson Estuary; Brian Brigham, who is completing a study of the connections between sewage discharge and greenhouse gases production in the estuary; as well as David Jofat, Anju Singh and Isabel Riano, who have been providing general assistance on multiple water quality projects and outreach activities.

Welcome several students working with Andy Juhl at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. Arianna Medina and Elise Myers will be studying how persistence of bacterial pathogens is influenced by particle association. Elise will incorporate these results into a model of bacterial transport she is constructing for the Hudson. Kayley You Mak is studying the effects of crude oil on bacteria and phytoplankton in the Hudson.

Jason Ratchford with Capt. John Lipscomb. (Photo courtesy SUNY Cobleskill)

Congratulations to Jason Ratchford, who has assisted Riverkeeper in gathering and processing Mohawk River samples in 2015 and 2016. A SUNY Cobleskill graduate, Jason received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, in part because of the independent research projects he performed, including his work with Riverkeeper. He is starting work at Hudson Valley Fish Farms.

Congratulations to Beckett Lansbury, who assisted Riverkeeper last summer in our Kingston lab at the Hudson River Maritime Museum, processing samples from the Catskill, Esopus, Rondout and Wallkill Rivers. A Bard College graduate, Beckett is spending the summer as a research assistant with the Cary Institute, studying tick ecology and tick-borne disease, before returning to Bard, where he’s been accepted into the Master of Arts in Teaching program.

Finally, a shout out and thank you to Daniel Clark, owner of Prime Print Shop, who is printing for free signs we’ll use to mark the location of our lab inside the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston. Soon museum guests will know what’s going on at the top of the spiral staircase!

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