Fifteen high school and college students from communities across the Hudson Valley recently completed an innovative two-week research program together with education staff and scientists at the Norrie Point Environmental Center in Staatsburg, NY. Through The Institute Discovering Environmental Scientists (TIDES) program, students conducted environmental research projects along the banks of the Hudson River and in freshwater tidal wetlands examining water quality, plant life, and fish biological diversity of the estuary.
TIDES is a summer field research and laboratory science experience with New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Hudson River Estuary Program, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and the Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship. Support was also provided by NEIWPCC staff and funding.
“TIDES is an amazing opportunity for young people to explore a new career path, develop important scientific research skills, forge life-long relationships, and challenge themselves to go outside their comfort zone,” said Maija Liisa Niemistö, education specialist with the Hudson River Estuary Program. “The program empowers future scientists to lean into their strengths, build up their weaknesses, and feel a strong sense of belonging. Participants gained knowledge and skills, but more importantly, affirmed that they can succeed as a scientist.”
This year’s program benefited from previous participants returning in mentorship roles and guiding newcomers with their projects, according to the NYSDEC. The students worked together to formulate scientific questions, gather field data, conduct scientific analysis and create a scientific presentation.
Local public school teachers also took part in TIDES to gain field science research experience to bring back to their classrooms while serving in mentorship roles for students in the program. Guest scientists led research seminars, introducing the students to a wider breadth of environmental science monitoring and communication.
The program wrapped up with the students’ final research presentations on water-quality conditions, plant habitats, and fish to family and Hudson Valley community members.