A Day In the Life of the Hudson River

People remember what they experience. Our annual participation in A Day in the Life on the Hudson is very rich in experience, and brings together our 2-3 class and our 6-7 students for a very memorable morning.

This annual event is sponsored by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and 2017 marks its fifteenth year– with Parker students participating for the past eight. Students from Troy to New York head to river locations near their schools and test the water quality of the Hudson, while also observing aquatic life.

Parker has a very special and unique location: Staats Island. Staats Island has been owned by the Staats family since the 1690’s, and has a very old house on it that is still used by the family in summer. We are honored that Monica Staats takes a day away from her job to spend the morning with our students and explain the colonial history of her family’s land, and its use, in years gone by, for ice production.

Staats Island gives Parker students easy dock access to the Hudson. Science teacher Kate Perry and 2-3 teacher Lynn Schuster, divided the lower and middle school students into teams and the older students helped the younger students rotate through stations to test the water and make observations. Art teacher Jen Nelson joined the group for the early part of the trip to guide students through some observational drawing. In was inter-disciplinary, multi-age learning at its finest.

One of the most magical times in the morning was when students began to wave at a pontoon boat on the river. Suddenly, the boat came toward us! One young student matter-of-factly explained: “They’re bringing the fish.” Indeed they were: The DEC scientists went “fishing” in the night, using electric nets, so that they could catch some live fish to show the teams of students. The fish stayed safe in buckets on the dock so they could be observed. The next time students hear about decisions that need to be made about the health of the river, they can think of the fish they met that day.

Our students and teachers were fortunate to have a team of parent chaperones and drivers– and we thank you for joining us and lending your support.

The data that the students collected will all be entered into a database at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory to be shared with anyone who would like to see what today was like on the Hudson River. Kate will be working with the students to have them compare our site, which is one of the furthest north, to sites in the mid and lower Hudson Valley. The data will be more than just numbers to our students– because they will draw from the memory of experience, to interpret the scientific meaning of the numbers.