As part of the Cary Institute's Ecosystem Literacy Initiative, during the months of April and May, Cary Institute educators immersed 5th grade students from Poughkeepsie's G.W. Krieger Elementary School in hands-on ecological inquiry. In collaboration with classroom teacher Skip Hoover, fourteen students honed their skills as environmental stewards by participating in the Hudson River Stewards Project.
Among the topics investigated: storm drain protection; the migration of American eels; rain barrels and water conservation; watershed connections; and ways of identifying and ameliorating water pollution problems. Exercises drew on regional experts, from Joe Kane of the City of Poughkeepsie's Engineering Department to Will Jobs from the Casperkill Watershed Alliance.
Educator Cornelia Harris, who led the Cary Institute's participation in the effort, commented, "The after-school enrichment allowed students to apply classroom lessons to their local environment, strengthening both their scientific savvy and their vision of themselves as agents of positive environmental change."
The image to the right was taken during the storm drain project. Permanent labels that read "Don't Dump, Drains to the Hudson" were positioned on drains throughout the City of Poughkeepsie. The goal: to raise community awareness about how many storm drains are not attached to water treatment facilities. When oil, trash, and other pollutants enter these storm drains, they flow into nearby streams, lakes, and groundwater—spoiling freshwater resources.