On Tuesday October 22, eighth grade students had the pleasure of taking part in A Day in the Life of the Hudson Harbor, where they learned about many organisms that rely on the Hudson, its surrounding environment and why. From learning the techniques of seining to taking an up close look at some of the inhabitants of the harbor, students were able to use a dichotomous key to identify what they were, and why the the Huson was a beneficial environment for them. This allowed students to learn about both the organisms that reside in the harbor (both animals and plants) and the harbor itself, while making connections to understand its unique complex ecosystem.
The eighth grade learned to take salinity tests using hydrometers and were taught about the importance of the amount of salt in the harbor and the effects it could have on the present organisms both physically and biologically. The students also took turbidity tests to further understand how bodies of water and the local organisms in general were being impacted by man negatively. They also got to make comparisons to results that occurred years prior to see the rate at which the Hudson is being impacted. This served as an eye opener to many of the students to be more conscious of the environment, their surroundings and what and who is being impacted.
Students also got to experiment with water chemistry, learning to test the amount of dissolved oxygen underneath the surface of the water, and understand the specific requirements of the present organisms and how too much and or too little oxygen in the water could affect them. Lastly, students tested the pH levels of the harbor to learn the amount of chemical pollutants that aren’t necessarily visible to the naked eye in the harbor however the students were taught that the impact is very much the opposite.
Overall, A Day in the Life of the Hudson Harbor was a great experience for the eighth grade to experience first hand the ecosystem of a harbor and build their own understanding of the ecosystem. It was also an important opportunity to understand that their own actions could negatively impact the environment and destroy the ecosystems effectiveness and present and future organism’s chance of survival.
By Chelsea C., Class 803