HarborLAB volunteers Dee Dee Maucher, Steven Chu, and Scott Wolpow launched our Instruction for Inclusion program on Saturday with single-seat kayaks provided by Manhattan Kayak Company (rather than our usual touring tandems) and pool time provided by the LIC YMCA! We’re thrilled to bring these American Canoe Association-certified introductory paddling and water safety lessons to new communities over the winter so that in the spring participation in our educational adventures across the estuary and watershed will be more diverse. This is especially helpful in our work to inspire young people to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields through experiences with the greatest teacher: nature.
As we expand Instruction for Inclusion to other times and locations (including the East River at Gantry Plaza State Park in summer), we’ll particularly focus on building the paddling skills of teachers, youth counselors, and other staff members of schools and organizations who partner with HarborLAB. This will ready these professionals to aid us on HarborLAB’s service learning field trips and educational outings in local tidal wetlands and at the Neversink Reservoir in the Catskills. This makes young adventurers safer and helps overcome a basic fear of the water, which is one of our city’s greatest cultural barriers to the joy of learning from nature.
“It was wonderful to see and the HarborLAB volunteers were great,” said Erycka de Jesus, whose teenage children and Ravenswood neighbors participated. “HarborLAB strives to bring the waterfront to the people, counteracting injustice and making the shores accessible to marginalized New Yorkers. Thanks, HarborLAB!”
In addition to a TF Cornerstone sponsorship to train our staff, HarborLAB funded two life guards and one high school student-worker to help the event go smoothly and safely. Great thanks to Mambo Tse and Erycka De Jesus for community outreach assistance and help with the inaugural program.
We look forward to expanding Instruction for Inclusion in 2017!
Gallery below by Erycka de Jesus.