Students Learn About Local Ecology aboard Hudson Boat

Students explore the Hudson's aquatic life aboard The Lilac's 'wet lab.'

Students explore the Hudson’s aquatic life aboard The Lilac’s ‘wetlab.’

On September 30 students from Instructor Derek Tesser’s Introduction to Biology: Life in New City class visited the River Project’s boat, The Lilac, on Pier 25 in downtown Manhattan. During the class’s previous field trip to The River Project’s wetlab, students learned about the different varieties of species living in the Hudson River estuary. This time, the students built on this knowledge by hearing about the research and conservation work carried out by The River Project. They also helped to bring up the traps, sort through, identify, and measure the species they found in the traps, including sea squirts, mud and spider crabs, pipe fish, snails, and toad fish.

As part of their assignment, students were asked to reflect upon their experience visiting The Lilac. It was apparent that the field trip gave students a new perspective about the Hudson River and New York City. One student commented, “I lived in New York for almost 20 years already, and I barely know anything accurate about the Hudson River.” Several students assumed that nothing could thrive in the river: “To be totally honest, I didn’t think ANYTHING lived at the Hudson…So discovering that there are many species…was a huge shock.” Others students were excited to see and touch different aquatic animals, often for the first time. “I enjoyed seeing the oysters, because I’ve always seen them on TV or online but never touched oysters,” explained a third student.

About the Lilac Preservation Project
The mission of the non-profit Lilac Preservation Project is to restore the U.S. Lighthouse Tender Lilac as a unique vehicle for maritime education and community activities, both underway and pier-side. Founded in 2003, the Lilac Preservation Project is an all-volunteer organization.

About the River Project
The River Project is a marine science field station founded in 1986 at Pier 26 in Tribeca, on the lower west side of Manhattan, in New York City. The River Project works to protect and restore the ecosystem of the Hudson River estuary through scientific research, hands-on environmental education, and urban habitat improvement. The River Project’s programs and interactive exhibits expand public understanding of the estuary and inspire people to appreciate the ecosystem they live in. An intimate view of what is at the waterfront and beneath the surface contributes to a sense of well-being for urban residents and to the perception of New York City as a viable place to live and work.

View photos from the River Project field trip.