Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One Happy Camper

Summer Adventures 2009 was the second year of summer camp at Beczak Environmental Education Center. Educators with degrees in marine biology and environmental studies ran the camp with assistance from ten Riverside High School students hired as counselors through a grant with Yonkers Public Schools. Thirty-five children attended during the two one-week programs, and enjoyed Catch of the Day Seining at Beczak’s beach as well as field expeditions to the Piermont wetlands, NJ Palisades, Greenburgh Nature Center and the Science Barge at the Yonkers Pier.

Here’s a letter from one happy camper.

Dear Beczak,

“Thank you for letting us go on the trips. They were real fun. My favorite part was when we went seining. It was fun. I liked all the fish we caught. The waders were really big. My favorite fish was the blue crabs. We caught a lot of striped anchovies. I learned about many fish. I learned the male blue crabs have a rocket shaped belly. The female blue crabs have triangle bellies. Thank you”


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wet as a Drowned Rat

Monday, July 13, 2009

Before each Catch of the Day Seining program at Beczak Environmental Education Center, I, my coworkers, or volunteers always evaluate the beach, move driftwood, pickup garbage and set up our equipment. Today, when the interns and I went down to the beach, we smelled something bad. Something rotting. I took a look at the high tide line and found not just one, but two dead river rats washed up with flies buzzing all around them and part of their fur gone. They must have drowned during the storm.

That was a first for all of us. As we removed the corpses from the water, I thought about that expression “wet as a drowned rat.” I looked it up and found that this simile appeared in Latin nearly 2,000 years ago, and in English about the year 1500. What we discovered on Beczak’s beach was nothing new.

Dorene Sukup

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown

This special monthly feature to The Tidal Zone blog recounts the highlights that led to Henry Hudson’s sail past the tidal marsh of what is now Yonkers’ Beczak Environmental Education Center on September 13, 1609.

The compass on the Half Moon has been pointed west for over a month and it has led the ship to a fearsome place of ghostly white. The sailors have entered the foggiest place on earth, a place that would one day be called the Grand Banks of the island of Newfoundland, Canada.

When the sun breaks through, when they catch cod by the basketful and when their sounding line indicates that land is near, the men can put aside their worries. But when they hear the drums of this strange land’s people, or when the ship’s cat goes crazy, crying and running from one side of the ship to another, superstitions and distrust return like the thick fog.

By mid July the Half Moon has reached Penobscot Bay, in present-day Maine. Crewmen guardedly trade with natives. Robert Juet, Hudson’s first mate, records, “The people coming aboard showed us great friendship, but we could not trust them.” On July 25, anxiety flares into insanity. Juet takes an armed crew of six men to the native village and steals one of their boats. Later in the evening, a dozen armed men go back and drive the Indians away from their encampment, stealing everything they could, on the pretense the natives would have done the same to them. Fearful of an Indian counterattack, Hudson sails away at 5 a.m.

Lenore Person
Marketing and Communications Manager

Wind back the clock and follow the events that lead to the Half Moon’s sail up the Hudson River in 1609!

JANUARY Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown
FEBRUARY Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown
MARCH Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown
APRIL Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown
MAY Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown
JUNE Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away

When I think about the month of June, bright sunshine and warm breezes come to mind. That was before this year. This June was more reminiscent of Seattle than the Hudson Valley! To put things into perspective, I took a look at the record books.

Using Beczak Environmental Education Center in Yonkers as a reference point we can see just how cool and wet this past month was relative to normal. The average temperature for the month of June is 71.2 degrees. This year the average was 67.5 degrees or 3.7 degrees below normal. This ranks June 2009 as the 8th coldest June all time. If we take a look at the precipitation total for the month, we had 10.06 inches of rain. This is 6.22 inches above our normal total for the month of June. That ranks June 2009 as the 2nd wettest of all time. Additionally, it rained on 23 of 30 days this month. What was the cause of our extreme weather?

The continuous wet weather was the result of a persistent trough of low pressure over the eastern third of the nation. Troughs allow cooler air from Canada to seep into the area while tracking storms in our direction. While we were under the trough, areas in the southern plains were under a ridge of high pressure. Texas all the way up to southern Illinois experienced temperatures well into the 90’s and 100’s.

In the coming weeks, a ridge of high pressure over the central part of the country will begin to move east. This will bring summerlike temperatures and drier weather to the Hudson Valley…finally!

Jason Muller
Educator/Technology Specialist