NEW ROCHELLE, N. Y. -- A new elective marine science course at New Rochelle High School is keeping interested students active in discovering ecosystems in local waterways, such as the Hudson River and Long Island Sound.
In October, members of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation led students on a tour of the Hudson River at Iona Island. They traveled through the tidal marshes near Bear Mountain, learning about the Hudson's watershed and the environmental effects of the wetland ecosystem.
Then on Nov. 16, students traveled to Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx to study the ecosystem structure in a salt marsh and rocky coastline. Wearing waders, the students used nets to collect shrimp, fish and crabs, and observed organisms' responses to tidal changes.
"The purpose of the trip was to give students experience collecting marine organisms and observing marine ecosystems firsthand," said Carmen Glenn, AP science teacher at New Rochelle High School.
Glenn said the students were surprised at the abundance of marine life present in the urban environment. Later that day, the group toured SUNY Maritime College which offers engineering and science major programs, including the opportunity to earn a license to operate ships.
In the spring, students plan to embark on a biodiversity cruise on board the Spirit of the Sound, a research vessel docked at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Conn.