HarborLAB is Afloat!

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Our maiden voyage returns. Patricia Menje Erickson in the stern with Tiffany and Virginia on their first ever canoe paddle! Photo by Frank Christopher of Water Blues Green Solutions.

HarborLAB had a wonderful Saturday supporting the Bronx River Alliance’s 2013 Amazing Bronx River Flotilla! It was a thrill to help the Bronx River Alliance continue its traditions while launching our fleet for the very first time! As an eco-educational success story, the Bronx River Alliance holds many lessons for HarborLAB. Our boats and volunteers, together with volunteers from other groups, including Sebago Canoe Club and North Brooklyn Boat Club, augmented the Bronx River Alliance’s program to provide scores of canoe adventures for South Bronx residents.

For this event we used our Old Town Saranac 160 canoes, which are nearly luxurious with their back support, cup and rod holders, dry storage compartments, and other amenities. We enjoyed a full event day without rain — it fell in the morning and poured right after closing. The fun was captured on video and in photos by local media and Water Blues Green Solutions, an interactive documentary about community responses to flooding, pollution, and scarcity produced and directed by Frank Christopher.

The Bronx River Alliance had a neat system of allowing the public to choose between two docks — one for beginners wishing to share a canoe with an experienced volunteer, the other for those ready to set their own course. Volunteers paddling solo acted as shepherds for all. An especially sweet experience for HarborLAB volunteers was taking face-painted elementary school-aged kids up river in one canoe with their moms paddling in our other canoes. The kids made observations that naturally led to scientific inquiry. When one boy named A.J.noticed that trees were leaning low over the water, he asked if they’d fallen. But a girl named Isis noticed that the trees seemed healthy and green. What followed was a discussion about how trees “eat sunlight,” after a fashion, and compete for that energy by bending and stretching toward it.

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Photo by Sally Attia.

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Family outing on a HarborLAB canoe. Photo by Sally Attia.

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Tiffany and Virginia return from their first canoe paddle. HarborLAB volunteers Patricia Menje Erickson in the stern, Erik Baard stabilizing the boat, and Sally Attia working the dock. Photo by Frank Christopher of Water Blues Green Solutions.

Part of HarborLAB’s mission is to extend other worthy organizations’ missions, so we were overjoyed to assist the Bronx River Alliance. Let us know if we can help your group by augmenting a water event or by extending your services onto the water!

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