“Teachers and Elders Paddle” Memories

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Honoring the mother-in-law and grandmother at the Teachers and Elders Paddle.    🙂

HarborLAB closed our season of open paddles at Gantry Plaza State Park with a Teachers and Elders Paddle, honoring the formal and informal ways wisdom and knowledge are transmitted down the generations. See our gallery below.

Our theme was inspired by this week’s International Day of Older Persons and UNESCO World Teachers’ Day.  We can’t recommend this series of videos enough:

Forces of Nature
Environmental Elders Speak

The day went smoothly, with good cheer spilling over from the nearby Hunters Point block party to raise awareness about funds to combat breast cancer. Families joined us for intergenerational fun afloat under a clear and sunny sky. Paddlers left with environmental and safe paddling literature provided by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, the American Canoe Association, and HarborLAB itself. Throughout the event volunteers Diana Szatkowski and Scott Wolpow gave kayaking instructions and tips to newbies. As always our experienced paddlers shared tandems with novice ones who requested it.


Scott Wolpow taking new paddlers through basic strokes. 

“This event has special meaning for me because my mother is a teacher,” said volunteer Filoma Fung-Khee, who staffed our education table with Xianmiao Zhang. Yan Cheng’s mother paired with him as volunteers for the event, carrying  boats and seeing that all paddlers had snugly fit life vests.

One unseen but now not unsung hero was Jessica Grable, who installed the safety ladder HarborLAB purchased for Gantry Plaza State Park.


New flip-up aluminum safety ladder funded by HarborLAB and installed by Jessica Grable, improving safety for all at Gantry Plaza State Park. 

Many thanks also to volunteers Patricia Erickson, Kenny Unser, Cameron Fearey, and Emanuel “Manny” Steier for making this event such a heartwarming success. Our gratitude to the NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, to Waterfront Alliance, and to our sponsors for enabling us to provide this meaningful service to all.