Queens and Manhattan students study ecological health of the East River at Gantry Plaza State Park

Photos courtesy of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

More than 50 Queens and Manhattan students got the chance to study the ecological system of the East River, as part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) “A Day in the Life of the Hudson & Harbor” event on Oct. 24.

Chemistry students from Vanguard High School in Manhattan and seventh-graders from Hunter’s Point Community Middle School in Long Island City gathered at Gantry Plaza State Park to examine the water’s chemistry, identify macroinvertebrates and fish, and observe oyster colonies.

They were sponsored by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), according to a press release.

“New York Harbor is a critical part of the Hudson River estuary and over the last decade DEP has invested more than $10 billion to improve water quality and restore wetlands and adjacent grasslands, helping to bring back native fish populations and allow for greater recreational use,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said.

Sapienza added that DEC is proud to partner with DEC to “bring this valuable program to thousands of young New Yorkers and to inspire stewards who will ensure that future generations can enjoy all the Hudson River has to offer.”

At the event, the seventh-graders and middle schoolers worked together to “measure the river’s currents and perform tests to determine the level of turbidity, pH, salinity and dissolved oxygen in the water.”

The data collected by the more approximately 5,000 students form 104 different New York schools will be analyzed and posted on the “A Day in the Life of the Hudson & Harbor” website, according to a press release.

The educational event, which is part of DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program and sponsored by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is now in its 17th year.