Seventh and eighth graders recently joined Rocking the Boat, a Bronx-based “on-water classroom,” for a hands-on examination of the Bronx River while rowing wooden Whitehall 14s. Along the way, students spied schools of fish, colonies of mussels and barnacles, a snapping turtle, and great blue herons.
They examined several oyster colonies that are part of an environmental restoration project. Students and teachers also donned waders to seine for fish and crabs before identifying their catch using a dichotomous key. This field study allowed students to examine the complex interactions between members of this estuarine environment in their natural habitat as well as discuss how species’ diversity promotes resilient ecosystems. Students also explored the influence of anthropogenic impacts on the environment, including the dredging of the river and the draining of the marshes, as well as the variety of restoration work currently underway.
Rocking the Boat was founded by MCS alumnus Adam Green ‘87. In addition to hosting school groups and offering apprenticeships for high school students in boat building, environmental education and sailing, the non-profit hosts free community rowing and sailing days on the Bronx River between Memorial Day and Labor Day.