What kind of event would have kids catching fish and playing on the Hudson River as part of their school day? Well, as John Wagner explains, it's part of a hands-on science lesson for the tenth annual day in the life of the Hudson River event.
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- All along the Hudson, river banks transform into a set of classrooms. The DEC Hudson River estuary program casts their nets, catching wide eyes and disbelief.
"We hope that this inspires kids to become the future scientist, future biologist, future environmentalist," said DEC Estuary Program Coordinator Fran Dunwell said.
"I learned about turbidity, the waves of the water, some new fish and I got to see pretty cool, awesome fish," Poughkeepsie Day School student Caidin Agro said.
Invertebrates, fish and water, plus volunteers, teach everything from local history, to math, science and collecting data.
Dunwell said, “They have no idea that the river is a vibrant living ecosystem, so kids are catching eel, striped bass."
"You can find like mostly anything in the river," one said.
“Better than opening a book and saying ‘oh this is cool.’ I don't think it should be like that, I think you should go here and look," said Sheafe Road Elementary student Giovanni Chirico.
In ten years, the event has grown from a few schools and sites to 70 different locations, with 3,000 participants from New York City to Troy. In total, they've caught 16,000 fish and 53 species, but Thursday, the eel was the highlight.
"I like that we caught a really big eel," one student said.
"Reading about eels and migration of the eel and wow, here's one right in the river," said Poughkeepsie Day School teacher Brian Reid.
Kids end up having so much fun, they forget they're in class and more importantly, learning a big lesson.
"Yes I had a very awesome day," one said.
"I wanna come back here every Sunday," said another.
"The more people that we can inspire to feel a connection to this incredible estuary and this beautiful valley, the more we'll have people taking care of it," Dunwell said.