Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to Create a Beach in a Box

At Beczak Environmental Education Center one of our most popular and interactive exhibits is our “Beach in a Box.” It's full of the treasures and artifacts we've collected along our marsh and beach. Every day the tide rises and falls and washes ashore exciting findings that give us clues to plants and animals found within the Hudson River and our watershed. Children love to come over to it and pick up the devils heads (water chestnuts), feathers, sea glass and more! You can do it too, here’s how…

How to create a Beach in A Box

Green Tip: Use a Clementine box or shoe box for your beach findings.

1. From any riverfront location, explore the beach at low tide for the following items.(insert Scavenger hunt pdf link)

2. Collect some sand and rocks.

3. Make sure to ONLY collect items that are non-living. Look for parts of animals (crab claws, oyster shells, bones, etc), or plants (seeds, bark, acorns, etc).

4. Bring back to your classroom and explore with your students.

5. Encourage your students to visit the river and collect items on their own time and contribute to the class beach in a box. Compare seasonal findings.

Friday, October 1, 2010


While holding our "Catch of the Day" program at the Beczak Environmental Center we caught an oyster toadfish in our seine. It was about an inch long and blended in well with our net. It was the first time we had ever caught an oyster toadfish so we were quite excited.
- Susan Juggernauth

[Oyster toadfish, known colloquially as "oyster crackers," are common along the Atlantic Coast as well as in New York Harbor. They have strong, sharp teeth that they use to crush shellfish and are a good indicator of salinity. Bones of oyster toadfish dating to 4,000 years ago were found by archaeologists at Dogan Point (HRM 39.5) in Westchester County. It is believed that the river was saltier in prehistoric times and certainly supported a robust oyster population, prime forage for the oyster toad. Note by Tom Lake, Hudson River Almanac.]