Hudson River Park’s annual SUBMERGE Marine Science Festival returned to inspire budding scientists from Tuesday, October 19 to Thursday, October 21, with a three-day celebration and exploration of our local waterways. Our River Project team was thrilled to partner with 20 environmental and community organizations to share the importance of these vital waterways, including the Park’s 400-acre Estuarine Sanctuary and the entire Hudson River, with the local community.
For the first time, science lovers joined us both virtually and in the Park to discover Hudson River wildlife and their habitats and learn about the health of the waters that support these local ecosystems.
Each day of this festival focused on a different main topic related to the River and all its life forms, starting with Local Wildlife on Tuesday, October 19, followed by Harbor Habitat on Wednesday, October 20, and wrapping up with River Health on Thursday, October 21. Every day of the festival kicked off at 10:00 AM virtually on Facebook Live, with captivating presentations, panel discussions and science experiments to follow along with live on Facebook. Then, attendees joined us in the Park to meet local wildlife and support Park research.
The first day of SUBMERGE highlighted the diversity and abundance of life in the Estuary. Participants enjoyed a close-up look at local fish populations and saw turtle hatchlings. In-Park visitors took a tour of the Pier 40 Wetlab, which is a flow-through local aquarium providing information about, and an immersive look at, species from the Hudson River including seahorses, crabs, sea bass, eels, terrapins and more.
Day two will concentrated on the local harbor habitat and the risks it faces. Engaged learners explored local wetlands and learned about the risks stormwater poses to our city and its waterways. Experts from New Jersey City University, New York University and Hudson River Park’s River Project shared information about ongoing Hudson River Estuary research during a live panel. In-Park guests experienced the Pier 26 Tide Deck. First opened in the fall of 2020, Pier 26 and its Tide Deck serve as a representation of native ecology and New York City’s natural coastline prior to European development of the city. The Tide Deck itself is an engineered rocky intertidal zone marsh that supports wildlife and helps to educate the public.
Day three offered participants the opportunity to investigate the impacts of climate change with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, learn how to sample water quality with the Bronx River Alliance, and explore different water quality tools with the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. Hudson River Park’s River Project conducted microscope observations of water quality indicators and interpreted them for visitors. There was also a panel about sharing water quality information through data visualization. Shell-ebrate Oysters was the final in-Park festivity allowing participants to see first-hand how oysters served the River ecosystem in a major way!
Thank you for taking part in SUBMERGE this year, whether you joined us online, in person or both. From all of us here at Hudson River Park and our partners, we always look forward to sharing the incredible Hudson River and our local waterways with you.