Thursday, August 27, 2009

Paddle Party

Monday, August 17, 2009

Last Saturday, nineteen paddlers camped overnight on Beczak Environmental Education Center’s lawn. They were the 2009 crew of the Great Champlain-Hudson River Paddle, a fifteen-day kayak trip that covers 195 miles, starting at Fort Edward (forty-five miles north of Albany), and finishing at Pier 40 in Manhattan.

A dozen children and I painted a fourteen-foot WELCOME sign earlier that morning, and we tied it onto the riverfront fence to celebrate the paddlers’ arrival. We cheered and whistled as the men and women pulled up in their sleek red, orange and yellow sea kayaks. While the paddlers unloaded their tents and gear, children explored the river in sit-on-top kayaks provided by the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club and in Beczak’s waterproof waders as they seined for fish.

The children’s awe and excitement was contagious and I could almost see their daydreams of the river adventures they would have when they were grown up.

Dorene Sukup

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Marine Invaders

A few weeks ago an invader to the Hudson River was captured and brought to Beczak. The suspect had a shell that was about 3 inches across along with hairy claws. It may sound like something out of a science fiction movie but it was actually a Chinese Mitten Crab. The mitten crab is not native to the Hudson River. It actually made its way here in the ballast water on trade boats traveling from China and Korea.
The mitten crab is considered to be an invasive species in the Hudson River. This means that it could potentially have a negative impact on the natural ecosystem of the Hudson. I say potentially because these impacts are not known. Mitten crabs have not yet fully established themselves in the Hudson River, but if they do they could compete with other native species for food. They are also known to destructively burrow into riverbanks which could affect things such as earthen dams. Because of these reasons, the DEC asks that anyone who finds a mitten crab dead or alive notify them. The crab that was found here in Yonkers was collected by the DEC for further testing. Hopefully we will learn more about what the mitten crab means to the future of the Hudson River.

Jason Muller
Educator/Technology Specialist

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

AUGUST Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown

The Delaware Bay

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 Half Moon sails south along the east coast of what will one day be the United States of America. Captain Henry Hudson is looking for a sea that cuts through to the Pacific—a westerly passageway to the riches of Asia.

He stares at each river through his spyglass trying to discern if it is the one or merely the false hope of an estuary. He’s well acquainted with the wide-mouthed salty rivers that receive and release the tides of an ocean. His native England has the Thames Estuary, in which the River Thames meets the waters of the North Sea, and Amsterdam, where the Half Moon set sail, is built on the IJ Estuary.

After fair, hot weather for weeks, the Half Moon reaches the English settlement of Jamestown amid sudden gusts of wind and rain. Hudson calls for the ship to turn north again, hugging the shoreline.

The lookout reports a large bay. Hudson takes a sounding—the water is deep. His heart pounds as they sail into the wide waterway, yet after about nine miles it becomes too shallow and full of shoals. The current, moreover, sets outward with such force he realizes he is at the mouth of a large and rapid river. With an angry shout to his crew he orders a turnaround. The Half Moon goes back to sea and heads north again.

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
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APRIL Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown
MAY Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown
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JULY Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown