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River Research: Environmental Science Classes Gain Hands-on Experience

For the fifth consecutive year the 120 students in Senior Lecturer Peter Bower's Introduction to Environmental Science class have spent a morning or an afternoon aboard the Research Vessel Seawolf on the Hudson River. This trip perfectly complements this semester´s coursework on the Hudson River, allowing students to gain a greater appreciation for the Hudson through a hands-on experience. In addition to it being an enjoyable two and a half hours on the river, the experience on the Seawolf was also informative and educational. Led by Laboratory Instructors Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch and Diane Dittrick, the voyage from Pier 40 (at Houston Street) to the Harlem Piers (at 125th Street) afforded the class a unique opportunity to extend a Barnard education beyond the walls of the classroom. On the ship, students sampled the river's water made measurements, and collected data. Otter trawls and plankton tows brought the Hudson's hidden fauna to the surface and views of Manhattan and the Palisades allowed a new perspective of the Hudson River´s beauty and complexity.

The Atlantic Sturgeon, a threatened species, grows to 9 feet and is making a comeback in the Hudson River.

In addition to a range of courses including, environmental law, the Hudson River environment, energy resources, and waste management, Peter Bower is also the developer of the Brownfield Action (BA) curriculum, which includes a network-based, interactive, digital space and simulation, in which student "consulting companies" can explore and solve problems in environmental forensics.