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.

Natural History of the Hudson River


This unit introduces students to the ecosystem concept using the Hudson River ecosystem. Students learn about both the biotic and physical history of the Hudson River ecosystem, including its geology, tides, and watershed. This unit's focus is on the  characteristics and historical drivers that primarily shaped the Hudson River ecosystem before European settlement. Changes after European settlement are explored in the following unit "The Hudson Valley: A Social-Ecological System."

  • Introduction to the Hudson: Journey down the river

    Students will know the components of the Hudson River ecosystem and be able to give several examples of ways that living and non-living things interact in the Hudson River.

  • Watersheds

    Students will know how water flows around their school and will be able to explain how permeability and pollution within a watershed affect water quality.

  • Aquatic Ecosystem Exploration

    Students will know how an aquatic ecosystem works and be able to collect representative organisms, identify the organism and its trophic level, and create a food web of a local aquatic ecosystem.

  • Tides in the Hudson

    Students will know how tides affect the Hudson River and be able to create a graph showing a two-day pattern of tides in the river.

  • How much water is in that river?

    Students will know  how to estimate flow in a river or stream, and be able to explain how how Hudson River flow is expected to change as predicted by global climate change models. 

  • Hudson Valley Geology

    Students will identify Hudson Valley rocks and be able to explain why the rocks came to be as they are in each place.

  • Glacial Deposition & Groundwater

    Students will interpret geological maps, identify the permeability rates in different glacial deposits, and be able to infer which local townships can best benefit from residential wells.

  • Paleoclimate of the Hudson Valley -- Historic plant communities

    Students will know how the climate of the Hudson Valley has changed over the last glaciation and be able to explain these changes.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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