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Winter Water Academy with Yonkers Public Schools

Over their mid-winter break, twenty Yonkers High School students – 10 from Lincoln High School and 10 from Saunders Trades and Technical School – attended a new “Winter Water Academy” program offered by Sarah Lawrence College’s Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB). The 3-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. In fact, students were able to collect their own samples from the Hudson and test for Enterococcus, a fecal indicator bacteria, as part of the program.

CURB is currently gearing up for their 5th 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 2-year program is funded by a $100,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Environmental Justice.