Harbor Camp Memories: 8/10 at Gantry



New volunteers Yasaman Alibabaee and Sharon Shum introduce Upper Manhattan kids to paddling and our estuary environment.

HarborLAB volunteers Steven Chu, Diana Szatkowski, Katherine Bradford, Greg Leopold, Yasaman Alibabaee, Sharon Shum, Erik Baard, and Maribel Rodriguez Egipciaco were delighted to provide a group of children from Upper Manhattan with another Harbor Camp day at Gantry Plaza State Park. Throughout the summer Waterfront Alliance refers groups to HarborLAB to provide free introductory paddling lessons and more academic education in the park.

Steven is an American Canoe Association certified kayak instructor and led the on-water event. Steven is truly a gifted teacher, with a natural ability to connect and make learning fun and excellent instructor training by Prime Paddlesports. Erik Baard, Diana Szatkowski, and Katherine Bradford are Red Cross certified in AED, CPR, First Aid, Basic Water Rescue, and Safety Around Water.

Diana holds a PhD in anthropology from Columbia University and gave the kids a background in how kayaking plays a central role in Inuit and other Arctic cultures. The “Greenland stick” paddle she made herself was a great show-and-tell exhibit to enter that conversation with the kids. A discussion of the origins of kayaking was especially fitting this week, with the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9. The United Nations served as a visual backdrop for our day of learning.

Yasaman, a CUNY biology student, distributed copies of Conservationist Magazine for Kids (a New York State DEC publication) at the conclusion of paddling.

This program was made possible by TF Cornerstone, Hudson River Foundation/Newtown Creek Environmental Funds, Newtown Creek Group, Patricia Menje Erickson, Schuman Properties, and other HarborLAB sponsors and volunteers. A special thanks to HarborLAB’s water quality monitoring volunteers (coordinated by Patricia Vidals-Aquino), NYC Water Trail Association, and CUNY LaGuardia Community College Environmental Science Program (directed by HarborLAB Board Member Holly Porter-Morgan, PhD) for working to ensure we operate with knowledge of safe water conditions.

What a wonderful day!

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