Hudson River Ecology

How does the Hudson River ecosystem respond to different types of changes over time? Are these changes permanent, and how will the ecosystem respond? Our curriculum addresses these questions through modules which combine unique and engaging Hudson River data collected by the Cary Institute and other scientists, investigations, readings, and visualizations.

Water Quality & Health


The toxification of the Hudson River has had a dramatic impact on the health of the river's ecosystem as well as the ability of people living along the river to use and enjoy it. With increasing human population in the last one hundred years, the Hudson has endured high levels of raw sewage, loading of nutrients, and the accumulation of pollutants such as PCBs. In this module, students learn how to monitor a local waterway for changes in water quality, and how the Hudson River has changed over time due to pollutants including nitrates, phosphates, and salt.

  • The Basics: School water budget

    Students will know how much water enters and exits their school building, creating a water budget and be able to understand how land cover affects the water that enters the school campus.

  • The Basics: Bottled vs Tap Water

    Students will know the benefits and drawbacks of drinking bottled water, and be able to compare the quality of their local water source to bottled water.

  • Pollution: How does salt pollution impact plants & animals?

    Students will know at what level of salt concentration aquatic organisms are affected, and be able to explain the results of an experiment to determine these levels.

  • Pollution: Investigating local sources of salt pollution

    Students will know how the application of road salt impacts water quality and be able to discover the different sources of salt as well as the amount of time that salt stays in the aquatic ecosyste

  • Pollution: Is it safe to swim in the Hudson River?

    Students will know how the sewage levels in the Hudson River have changed over time, and be able to explain the consequences of these changes.

  • Pollution: Historic Pollution in the Hudson

    Students will know how the pollution in the Hudson River has changed over time, and be able to explain the consequences of these changes.

  • Pollution: Eutrophication in the Hudson River

    Students will know the history of nutrient loading in the Hudson River, the consequences, and be able to recommend ways to reduce the levels of nitrogen and phosphorous in the future.

  • The Basics: Land Use & Water Quality

    Students will know how land use affects water quality and be able to compare results from two different types of aquatic ecosystems. 

  • The Basics: Watersheds
    1. Students will know how water flows around their school and be able to create a map of their local watershed. 
    2. Students will know what a watershed is and will be able to explain how per
  • The Basics: Soil: The natural water filter

    Students will know the importance of soil as a water filter and be able to discuss how the composition of the soil impacts its ability to filter pollutants.

  • Pollution: Eutrophication

    Students will know the difference between a ‘pulse’ and a ‘press’ event with regards to eutrophication and be able to graph the growth of algae over time. 

  • Pollution: Hudson River Water Quality - Sampling Activity

    Students will use data to create a scatter plot by hand and be able to understand the importance of replication and the intrinsic link between variability and the conclusions that can be drawn from

  • The Basics: Introduction to Water Quality

    Students will understand the different aspects of water quality and be able to use water quality test kits to practice testing for pollutants.

  • The Basics: Is Our Water Healthy?

    Students will decide whether their local stream or the larger Hudson River are healthy, using chemical and physical characteristics, and be able to collect data to support or negate their hypothese

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