On October 18, students from Walter Panas High School's AP Environmental Science class took part in the Day in the Life of the Hudson River project. The project is now in its 9th year. Students from Walter Panas took part at the Riverfront Green in Peekskill.
The program, organized by the Hudson River Estuary Program, gave students in the Hudson Valley the opportunity to collect data on the river. Students and adults spent part of the day collecting water samples at 60 sites along the river and recording what they found. The results will become part of the database that is tracking the river's health.
"I think it's important for the people who live in the community here to really connect to the river and appreciate what it does for our whole valley," said Laura Heady, the biodiversity outreach coordinator for the Hudson River Estuary, who joined the Panas' students to help in the collection of the samples and guide their work. "For communities to realize that they connect to this river that runs through the whole valley is really important."
Field work is an integral part of the AP Environmental Class at Panas, explained Walter Panas teacher Michael Billy, who teaches the class. The Hudson River project gives students a unique opportunity to do hands-on research on a body of water that sits right in their backyard.
"Hands-on is always better than sitting in the classroom," he said. "I think part of it is that we have a resource here that's unique, that very, very few places in the world have, and it's only a few minutes away for us, so we're very fortunate in that regard," he added.