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Sarah Lawrence College’s Center for the Urban River at Beczak Hosts Water Academy During Winter Break

Sarah Lawrence College’s Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB) hosted 20 Yonkers High School students – 10 from students from Lincoln High School and 10 from Saunders Trades and Technical High School – at its new “Winter Water Academy” over the mid-winter break. 

The three-day intensive training program included hands-on lessons about the Hudson River estuary, water chemistry, food webs, fish identification, interpreting graphs, and water quality and pollution – particularly fecal contamination and combined sewer overflows.  As part of the program, students also collected their own samples from the Hudson River in Yonkers and tested it in the lab for Enterococcus, a fecal indicator bacteria.

Lincoln High School student Marla Wilson participated in the program because she felt, “I wanted to learn how to protect my environment and help ecosystems that are suffering.”

Saunders Trades and Technical High School student John Lang enjoyed the program, stating: “I learned a lot about the Hudson River and about the different fish and animals. We talked a lot about ecology.”

CURB is currently gearing up for their fifth year of citizen science monitoring of sewage pollution in the Saw Mill and Hudson Rivers. Ten students from the water academy will join CURB this summer as paid interns to assist with the water collection and lab work. This newly created “Blue Team” internship program will also give the students the opportunity to create an education and outreach campaign aimed at curbing pollution in their community.

The two-year program is funded by a $100,000 grant from New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Environmental Justice.

Sarah Lawrence College’s Center for the Urban River is located on Alexander Street in Yonkers.

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence College is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college. Consistently ranked among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country, Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, for its long history of impassioned, intellectual engagement, and for its vibrant, successful alumni. For more information, please visit www.sarahlawrence.edu.

About the Center for Urban River at Beczak

CURB began in 2013 when Sarah Lawrence College entered an alliance with the Beczak Environmental Education Center on the banks of the Hudson River in downtown Yonkers. The collaboration allowed the College to establish a research field station, facilitate faculty and student research, while continuing environmental education programming about the river for school and community groups. In addition to providing hands-on, K-12 environmental education, CURB works with partners such as the Riverkeeper to perform studies to look for ways to combat sewage and other contamination of river water.

About the DEC’s Office of Environmental Justice

DEC’s Office of Environmental Justice offers Community Impact Grants to provide community-based organizations with funding for projects that address various environmental and public health concerns. The program has a particular focus on low-income and minority communities that have historically been burdened by environmental problems. The Community Impact Grants empower stakeholders to be actively engaged in finding solutions to the disproportionate burdens that EJ communities may experience.