River Summer 2010 Photos and Reflections - Module 2

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Module 2 - Piermont to Poughkeepsie

July 13-17th


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Read committments to sustainability participants made.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Core Participants: Kelsey Jordahl, Tom Sarro, Dave Conover, Suparna Bhalla, Dean Goddard, Heather Hall, Margie Turrin, Tim Kenna. Day Participants: Jeremy Fisch, Ashley Curtis

This morning, we all arrived at the pier to meet the Seawolf, get oriented, and make introductions. An hour or so later, we were underway to Englewood. While in transit, Margie gave a brief overview of the effort to preserve the Palisades that ultimately resulted in the creation of Palisades Interstate Park. As our first activity, we all sketched a split view of the Palisades, undeveloped on one side, and as we pictured it affected by development on the other.
     

Drawings of the Palisades Sill - Nature versus commercial use
 

Examining the contact of the layers of the Palisades Sill
We landed by Zodiac just as it started to rain, and made our way in the van up to the next picnic area where we could eat lunch under a shelter. From there, we started a geological tour of the Palisades sill, led by Brent Turrin. Undeterred by the rain, we took a close look at the diabase that makes up the sill, and the contact with the sedimentary rocks beneath.

At the Women’s Federation Monument
  Following our geological excursion we visited the site of the New Jersey Women’s Federation Monument dedicated to the women that played an instrumental role in securing funds for the establishment of the Park. On the same grounds could be found the remains of the Burnett-Timken Estate represented only by the deteriorating pool and the landscape planting surrounding it.  
The swimming pool at the Burnett-Timken Residence
One of the highlights of the day was a visit to the Tilcon Quarry. As viewed from the river the Palisades appear as pristine columns of stone, appearing untouched by man. Viewed from the hind side, the effects of man are readily apparent. This reinforced the dilemma we face with development and preserving our natural environment. The products of this quarry are used to build and repair our roads but at what cost?
 
 
Visiting the Tilcon Quarry in Haverstraw

Upon returning to the boat we were treated to a fine meal of barbequed pork, salad, pasta salad and corn. At meals end we disembarked the boat to follow a history of geological time laid out along the Piermont Pier annotated by Brent Turrin. We returned to the boat to discuss our day and plan the next.

Not bad for the first day of River Summer Module 2.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Core Participants: Kelsey Jordahl, Tom Sarro, Dave Conover, Suparna Bhalla, Dean Goddard, Heather Hall, Margie Turrin, Tim Kenna. Day Participants: Jeremy Fisch, Ashley Curtis, Salima Bahri
       

Bear Mountain Bridge
 

Coring – finally a successful recovery
  We transited from Piermont to Denning’s Point, running water quality samples and looking for the leading edge of the salt in the river. Dave pointed out as we traveled underneath the magnificent Bear Mountain bridge that it doesn’t have even a toe in the river, instead it sets its footing back on the edge.

It rained a bit, but that did not stop us from viewing several birds such as the bald eagle and a blue heron or witnessing the majesty of Anthony’s Nose and Iona Island. Just into the Highlands we decided to collect a sediment gravity core. We hit slack tide and were optimistic the first time we dropped the core… the second time…the third time…the fourth time…Eureka we got it on the fifth try! Who said science is easy!

Green Roof at Beacon Institute of Rivers & Estuaries
  The zodiac dropped us off to Denning’s Point, where we hiked up to the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries.

The use of alternative energy forms such as geothermal, wind tunnels and a green roof to limit energy use for the building was impressive. It goes to show what we can do if we really put our minds to it.


"Dennings Point Brick Works" brick
 
We learned a lot about invasive species. Dave Strayer from the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies gave us a very informative lecture on the current status and management of invasive species in the Hudson Valley. We stepped out onto the trails in an attempt to identify the invasive species. Not surprisingly we found that areas of greater disturbance had a greater number of invasive species compared to the less disturbed areas by the water. What was shocking, however, was that in the beautiful wilderness that we hiked a large percentage of the species were invasive!  
Dave Strayer runs an invasive species activity with the group

Look who hadn’t finished their readings!

  The evening ended with a discussion on our module readings. Some of the participants used their transit time to catch up on their required reading!  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Core Participants: Kelsey Jordahl, Tom Sarro, Dave Conover, Suparna Bhalla, Dean Goddard, Heather Hall, Margie Turrin, and Tim Kenna. Day Participants: Michael Koch, Meryl Nadel, Brian Mailloux, Elizabeth Hutchinson, and Theresa Edwards.
     
  Today started out with the rumble of the early AM alarm clock services courtesy of CSX due to our West Point accommodations; this wasn’t really a problem as we had become quite used to the sound by the morning – South Dock waterfront!
Our first activity places us on the east side of the Hudson at The Hastings Center (Garrison, NY), which is located at the former site of the Gordon School for Boys - thanks to Brian Mailloux for delivering us safely. We participated in a very interesting discussion that included an ethics overview, and moral maps (Nancy Berlinger), dilemmas in genetics (Karen Maschke), and synthetic biology (Greg Kaebnick).
  We headed back to West Point, picking up Elizabeth Hutchinson of Barnard College along the way.
     
After scrubbing Tilcon product off of the van, we traveled north through the Hudson Highlands towards Beacon. Elizabeth led us through a discussion of the Hudson River School and excerpts from American Scenery (Willis, 1840).
 
After a zodiac trip into Beacon, we visited DIA, where we experienced works by contemporary artists, including Serra, Heizer, LeWitt, and Weiner – very impressive!  
After DIA, we collected Theresa Edwards from the Beacon waterfront. After a jaunty zodiac ride back to Seawolf we were underway to Poughkeepsie.

Views of Danskammer power plant (left) and Tilcon at Clinton Point (right).
While underway, we explored the poetry of Paul Goodman and Grace Paley and participated in a free-writing exercise.
     
 
"The Lordly Hudson"
by Paul Goodman

"Driver, what stream is it?" I asked, well knowing
it was our lordly Hudson hardly flowing.
"It is our lordly Hudson hardly flowing,
"he said, under the green-grown cliffs."

Be still, heart! No one needs
your passionate suffrage to select this glory,
this is our lordly Hudson hardly flowing
under the green-grown cliffs.

"Driver, has this a peer in Europe or the East?"
"No, no!" he said. Home! Home!
Be quiet, heart! This is our lordly Hudson
and has no peer in Europe or the east.
This is our lordly Hudson hardly flowing
under the green-grown cliffs
and has no peer in Europe or the East.
Be quiet, heart! Home! Home!
  Suddenly There’s Poughkeepsie
By Grace Paley

what a hard time
the Hudson River has had
trying to get to the sea

it seemed easy enough to
rise out of Tear of
the Cloud and tumble
and run in little skips
and jumps draining
             a swamp here and
        there acquiring
streams and other smaller
rivers with similar
longings for the wide
imagined water

suddenly
there’s Poughkeepsie
except for its spelling
an ordinary town but
the great heaving
ocean sixty miles away is
determined to reach
that town every day
and twice a day in fact
drowning the Hudson River
in salt and mud
it is the moon’s tidal
power over all the waters
of this earth at war with
gravity the Hudson
perseveres moving down
down dignified
slower look it has
become our Lordly Hudson hardly flowing
              and we are
now in a poem by the poet
Paul Goodman be quiet heart
home home
then the sea

Friday, July 16, 2010

Core Participants: Kelsey Jordahl, Tom Sarro, Dave Conover, Suparna Bhalla, Dean Goddard, Heather Hall, Margie Turrin, and Tim Kenna. Day Participants: Tom Mullane, Carol Reitsma
     
River Summer took us inland to Mohonk Preserve where we got a first hand look at long term data collection and forest management techniques. We began the visit at the Research Center with Paul Huth and Shannon Smiley. They showed us where they keep books, specimens and the notes taken over the years. They even have samples of the animals from the site.  

Beaver and skunk - preserved specimen

The historic weather station.

Paul Huth and the rain gage.
  Then Paul took us to see the weather station and rain gauge where they have been collecting weather data since 1886. It’s still collected the way it has always been - manually between 4 and 5 pm daily. This data has become important as it is one of the few sites that have continuous observations about weather, plants and animals.
Mohonk is an amazing landscape, but faces some serious challenges from deer browsing that impedes forest reproduction and recreational pressures. We saw the results of prescribed burning meant to help give critical species like oak the chance to reproduce. We also got the chance to do some transects in the pitch pine forest and observe peregrine falcons …during one of the hottest days of the year!  
 
Another interesting find was a remnant of an American chestnut, clinging to life despite being infected by the blight fungus that wiped out this keystone species long ago. A big thank you to the research staff at Mohonk Preserve for sharing their work with us!
  We ended the day working with Tom Sarro to complete several plant transects to get a better understanding of the tree composition in the forest.

Signing off at 94 plus degrees – but still smiling! The Module 2 River Summer Gang

Saturday, July 17, 2010
Wrap Up Discussion

Core Participants: Kelsey Jordahl, Tom Sarro, Dave Conover, Dean Goddard, Heather Hall, Margie Turrin, and Tim Kenna
     

Tim, Steve, Dave, Heather, Margie, Tom, Kelsey, Mark & Dean
  Before we launched into our session wrap up we took a morning hike over the "Walkway Over the Hudson". What a wonderful example of repurposing a structure to develop a community asset.

Our wrap up discussion rotated from individual action, student engagement to community involvement with commitments made by individual participants for specific active change.

Free Writes from our time with Theresa Edwards stemming from her reading of “The Lordly Hudson" by Paul Goodman
 
The Lordly Hudson is no lord…
This river has been frozen solid and collected in huge, ancient lakes. It has seen the life and death of mastodons and oysters, of Indians and Dutch.

This river is no lord.
It has names from Shattemuc and Muhheakannatuck to North River and Lordly Hudson

But this river is no lord
Fish, fresh and salt, have thrived here. Beaver swam here, helping to launch a new Empire.

But the Hudson is no lord. For what lord would allow generations of filth poured on his lap? What lord would allow his lands to be paved, his fish poisoned, or his waters trespassed. This river is no lord. We are.

 
Dave Conover
Suparna Bhalla
  New home
Makes it a peaceful one
Makes it a majestic one
Water is a source of life
Several life forms
I am but a part of this majesty
I can do much harm
But then I can do much good
I can educate, can teach
How to take care of this river
It is a tremendous opportunity
It is a journey
It is a meeting place
Place where friendships are made
Place where different view points have to be respected
The river provides a means of transportation, a connection of the ocean to the inlands
Has to be protected
Forts have been built
Today the protection needed is of a different type
Today what is needed is respect
The river must be allowed to exist
Our existence in some way depends upon it
Yes we can build on it, can take from it but we need to respect it enough to give back
Make sure that this body of water remains pristine for generations to come
How can we be so selfish as to deprive others not yet born this opportunity?
Everyone must have an opportunity to experience it
The river connects the past, present and future.
Has this a peer in Europe or the East? What about the west? The Mississippi is mightier, the Colorado grander. The Columbia, the Missouri, the Ohio? The Hudson is still “home” to American memory. The past, mostly forgotten by many. What do Californians know of the Hudson? Dim memories of Sleepy Hollow? Or thoughts of PCBs? The grandeur of North America’s southernmost fjord is something, I think.

It has never been “home” to me. I come from the Midwest and live far enough from its shores that I don’t think of it as “my” river. But I cross beneath it nearly every day, rarely seeing it.

A river of history, of beauty, of symbolism, of environmental challenges.

What future?
 
Kelsey Jordahl
Dean Goddard
  It was April, the ice has barely melted. We were like two teenagers who could hardly wait to drive the family car the day we first got our drivers licenses. Anticipation and excitement could not be contained as we talked endlessly about what fun we will have with the new boat. Water skis. We needed water skis, we needed them now, not when the water warmed to a temperature that would not stop the.

There must be a technical solution to this impediment to our anticipated fun.

Wet suits, we needed wet suits, we needed them today so that we can get that Sea Ray into the water.

How much? Who cares, we need them now.
From the shore the Hudson River has been my ocean replacement when I had withdrawals from my beloved Maine coast. Lighthouses, salt water, tides.

From the water I’ve added the emotion of the water this week. It takes me back to Maine but it’s not a collection of islands. It’s a collection of trees and shore and rock and quarries and communities tiny and large. This trip I feel the life of the river in a way I’d not done before.

My companions bring the river to life helping me see below the surface. Tell me tales from its past. Give me hope for its future. I take a long time to find my roots. This trip is giving me a connection to the river long overdue.

Thank you everyone for all you have shared. For putting together another piece of my puzzle.
 
Heather Hall
Tom Sarro
  Not to sound morbid but the music reinforced my feeling of a religious overtone. The music made me feel as though I was in church during an emotional service. I could see this as being a eulogy for someone like Pete Seeger. An individual with a great love and reverence for the river. "Be quiet heart" could mean the cessation of life, death. "Going home" could be someone's ashes being strewn in the river and for someone like Pete this could be going home. It should be everyone's goal to find a place where they feel secure and at home, a place where there is no need to put into words how grand someone is. IT JUST IS!! The place called home could be a physical place, music, art or loved one, but none the less a place you love like no other. Asking this question for someone like Pete there is no need to ask what stream we all know.
Traveling – yes we are traveling along the Hudson. We are moving through a landscape that has been touched by human hands, and yet it remains undaunted. Sheer cliffs rise from the waters edge, softened by the growth of hardwoods tumbling haphazardly across. The rock roadways are cut across these same rock faces, again evidence of our presence and attempt to dominate, and yet the Hudson does not succumb. No matter what we as humans try to do it springs back eternal – the waters running with new life. The rocky edges re-grown to cover the human scars. The Hudson will remain long after we are gone.  
Margie Turrin
Tim Kenna
  Goodman, Goodman, what are you saying to me?
The hour is late since you wrote.
Were you to see the Hudson now, I think you would be pleased.
But, is it warranted?

I would interpret hardly flowing differently.
I think it pertains to the life force
and would agree that it is (or was) hardly flowing.
Your words put to music were sad (funeral dirge).

She is not dead.
She has come back,
and does indeed stir the heart.
Although those that cross under or over it may not think so.

This is easily remedied.
We must go out on the river;
feel it flowing –
moving.
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