New HarborLAB T-Shirt Backs!


Our new volunteer shirts will add educational value to the usual display of gratitude to our sponsors and grant givers. Two hourly panels from the 12 that make up New York Harbor’s tidal current cycle give viewers a snapshot of how water moves through our city. We hope you find it beautiful and informative!

Pride Paddle 2019 on June 28!


Photo by Erik Baard

Come join HarborLAB at Gantry Plaza State Park for a FREE sunset paddle on Friday, June 28 (6-9PM)! We’re producing this event to celebrate the last weekend of Pride Month, and are embracing the chance to support local LGBTQ+ students in their pursuit of sustainable Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers!

When you come paddling, please consider making a donation to the scholarship fund of the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP)! Our event is entirely free and we provide boats, life vests, and paddles. If you’re moved to donate to our scholarship fund with NOGLSTP, you can bring a check made to NOGLSTP with the memo line “HarborLAB Pride Paddle” or donate online here:

We hope you can join us as a paddler, or better yet, as a volunteer! We need volunteers to staff the sign-in table, fit life vests, to load and unload, and other roles.

June 28
Gantry Plaza State Park
Volunteer registration:
Shareable promotional link:

Learn more about this need:

LGBTQ+ students are vastly underrepresented in STEM fields, and have a much higher drop out rate than their straight classmates.  Read more about this problem below. As an environmental organization, HarborLAB recognizes the need to cultivate and encourage all talent as we tackle the climate crisis and other challenges to our living world.

“Why is Science So Straight?”

“Out of the Closet, Into the Lab.”

“Sexual Minorities Drop Out of Science Majors at a Higher Rate.”


Photo by Inga Sarda-Sorensen



Solstice Weekend Happenings!

Paddle with us!

Whether you adore the skyline at sunset or exploring blissful outer reaches of the city, HarborLAB has a spot on a kayak for you!

June 21

Summer Solstice Sunset Paddle!
Gantry Plaza State Park
Volunteer registration:
Shareable link for promotion:

Many thanks to sponsors TF Cornerstone, Hudson River Foundation, and NY Offce of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. 

June 22

Kayak the Bay!
Little Bay Park
Volunteer registration:
Shareable link for promotion:

With Waterfront Alliance. 

June 23

Kayak and Coastal Cleanup!
MacNeil Park
Volunteer registration:
Shareable link for promotion:

With Coastal Preservation Network. 

June 29

Kayak the Bay!
Little Bay Park
Volunteer registration:
Shareable link for promotion:

With Waterfront Alliance. 

2019 Draft Events Schedule


We have a fun summer ahead! Below is by no means a complete schedule of events and activities, but a running list of likely highlights. Confirmed events are in bold. Senior HarborLAB volunteers and board members will consult to confirm or eliminate those tentative events not in bold. More excitingly, they’ll add new ones!

Of particular interest are our revived gardening group, boat building, our work to launch a West Harlem program, and efforts to move our boats to the 2nd Street launch in LIC.  Stay tuned to see those show up on our calendar!

In the coming days these events will populate our website calendar, Facebook list, and registration forms.

May 4 – LIC Sweep, with Riverkeeper.

May 18 – Red Cross Safety Certifications.

May 25-27 – Memorial Day at Neversink Reservoir. Season opener on pristine Catskill Mountain water!  

May 30 – (CANCELED for thunder forecast and water quality concerns because of Tuesday’s sewer overflows. Second Henge Paddle on July 11) Henge Paddle! See the sun set through Manhattan’s grid.  


June through October — Neversink Reservoir Paddling. We’ll have a Doodle seeking likely available dates for volunteers and students to staff these key events.


June 1 – Kayak the Bay, with Waterfront Alliance at Little Bay Park

June 2 – Family Earth Fair, with Coastal Preservation Network at MacNeil Park.

June 5 – World Environment Day Evening Community Paddle. Enjoy a splash with a view at Gantry Plaza State Park.

June 8 – (POSTPONED to 2019, or until we have active Puerto Rican community partners. Paddle for Puerto Rico.) Raise funds and awareness for recovery from Hurricane Maria.

June 15, 16 – Clearwater Festival! Join water ecology heroes and music mavens for a joyous weekend.

June 21 – Solstice Paddle. Celebrate the longest day while paddling in Gantry Plaza State Park.

June 22 – Kayak the Bay! Little Bay Park.

June 23: Clean Air Day Power Paddle. Paddle to see East River electricity plants (past, present, and emerging tech) to learn about how energy production has generation by generation gotten cleaner. 

June 29 – Kayak the Bay! Little Bay Park.

June 30 – Pride Paddle: Close LGBTQ Pride Month with a Manhattan Circumnavigation to support LGBTQ students in STEM fields.


July and August — Harbor Camp. We’ll have a Doodle seeking likely available dates for volunteers and students to staff these key events.


During the weekdays of July and August we aim to serve even more community centers and youth groups with special paddling programs at Gantry Plaza State Park and Neversink Reservoir. We also seek to serve schools when NYCDOE policies allow.

July 4: Volunteer Reward Fireworks Paddle.

July 11 – Henge Paddle. See the sun set through Manhattan’s grid.  

July 13 –  City of Water Day, with Waterfront Alliance, Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, and others. Paddle for our region’s largest annual harbor festival! Brooklyn Bridge Beach and Gantry Plaza State Park shoreline cleanup and paddle, plus paddles linking the locations.

July 14 – City of Water Weekend at Neversink Reservoir. Paddle on the source of your drinking water!

August 17 – Overnight Circ Volunteer Reward Paddle. See our city by kayak at night, with a sharp eye for bioluminescence and crepuscular creatures.

September 10 – Life Affirmation Paddle. Paddle in the morning to support organizations who aid those might otherwise lose their lives or love ones to suicide.

September 21 – Peace Lanterns Festival. Our annual celebration of World Peace Day with paddling, contemplation, and arts.

September 22 – South Brother Island seeding and cleanup.

October 5 – White Island seeding and cleanup with Pratt Institute’s Blue Week crew.

Oct 12-14 – Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day at Neversink Reservoir. Season closer.

Red Cross AED, CPR, First Aid Training Registration.

redcrossMay 18, 8AM-2PM.
LaGuardia Community College, room TBD.

Registration link: CLICK HERE.

Enrollment: 12.
Proven volunteers and critical programs will be prioritized, but we’ll consider inclusion of committed newer volunteers. If funding permits, we’ll strive for additional training to grow our ranks of qualified volunteer leaders.

Please respond by May 13 at 3PM.
Please, no cancellations after May 16 at 3PM.

HarborLAB’s insurance requires program leadership by volunteers with Red Cross certification in adult and pediatric AED, CPR, and First Aid, along with a water safety class (to be offered this summer). The land-based certifications expire after two years, so if you were certified in 2017, you must renew now.

Note: Completion of a water safety class is good for life. We’ll offer that class to volunteers this summer.
Note: We have a particular need of certified volunteers for our weekday Harbor Camp and Neversink programs.
Note: HarborLAB has a limited ability to reimburse individual training sessions elsewhere, but these are more expensive and require more administrative work.

This safety training is funded by ExxonMobil as part of a community outreach effort associated with cleaning up its Newtown Creek pollution, centered in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

How White are Green and Blue?


Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a useful day to reflect on how the environmental movement manifests our nation’s civil rights goals. We’ve certainly increased awareness of environmental injustices that disproportionately hurt people of color and women, and serve a wider community with educational programs. But we’ve done so while our own leadership has backslid toward less diversity and inclusion, according to a recently released annual audit by Green 2.0.

Grist further examines the report and the issues it raises.

The assessment relied on voluntary self-reporting, and several notable environmental charities declined to participate. The central thrust, however,  is confirmed by our volunteers’ observations. Because of historic racism that excluded African Americans and others from public swimming pools and beaches (and costs associated with maritime recreation) leadership in waterways groups tends to be white, even in a multicultural hub like New York City. HarborLAB itself was founded with a mission of inclusion in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields by a white man who serves as Executive Director, and the majority of our Board is the same. We’re very encouraged that HarborLAB’s rising volunteer leaders include more women and people of color than is typical among on-water programming groups without paid staff.

As HarborLAB explores paths forward toward adding paid professional staff, independently with a larger Board or through affiliation with a higher education institution, we commit to growing our diversity and inclusion. We’ll always seek ways to bring free educational and recreational opportunities to all, especially those who have traditionally been underrepresented in maritime life and environmental science. Thank you for joining us in these efforts, and sharing the joyful fruits of progress.



Booting things back a bit.

Volunteers reported that this week’s snowstorm played havoc with personal and work schedules, just ahead of Thanksgiving travel and hosting obligations. Respecting those needs, we’re postponing this weekend’s boat building and seed gathering activities to Dec 1 and 2, respectively.
We thank volunteers for their feedback!
Happy Thanksgiving! 

Green Drinks Queens, September 17


Green Drinks at Blissville’s Bantry Bay!

Green Drinks Queens at Blissville’s Bantry Bay!
No cover. Cash bar with green drink specials!

Come welcome autumn and harvest bounty with a shared promise to work through the cold to make each spring a greener start for Queens, NYC, and our world!

Monday, September 17
6PM – 9PM

Bantry Bay Publick House
33-01 Greenpoint Ave,
Long Island City, NY 11101


Green Drinks Queens is the official local chapter of Green Drinks (, a self-organizing network of people who care about the environment and gather regularly to informally build community around this greatest cause of our lifetime. HarborLAB is a lead partner in Green Drinks Queens.

Our deep gratitude to host Bantry Bay Publick House, known for its authentic Irish New Yorker bar and spacious banquet hall (

Green Drinks Specials and Regular drink specials:

If you belong to an environmental organization or work for green company, or do environmental research, please feel free to put your literature on our community table! Please, no partisan or directly political materials.

Schedule and Speakers (tentative):

5PM: Volunteers set up.
6PM: Public gathers, networks.
Opening remarks.
Masters of Ceremonies:
Erik Baard | HarborLAB.
Mitch Waxman | Newtown Creek Alliance and Access Queens
730PM: Blissville ecology trivia game (approx. 20 minutes) conducted by Erik Baard and Gil Lopez of Smiling Hogshead Ranch urban farm and Montauk Cutoff Coalition.
730PM: Closing remarks. Networking continues.

City of Water Day with HarborLAB!


City of Water Day in Lower Manhattan and LIC!

Fun fact: City of Water Day, produced by Waterfront Alliance, was founded as the Five Borough Harbor Ramble by volunteers who went on to found HarborLAB! We’re grateful to Waterfront Alliance for growing the event beyond what we originally imagined! In each year of HarborLAB’s existence we’ve provided a central program to the event, and this year we’re doing it in two locations, thanks to Better Chinatown USA, Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, and, of course, Waterfront Alliance.

HarborLAB will provide safety support to the Con Ed Cardboard Kayak Race and then two public paddling sessions. HarborLAB’s Seaport District public paddling with Better Chinatown USA in the Seaport District will run from 1PM-4PM (line closes at 340PM).  HarborLAB’s sunset public paddling with Hunters Point Parks Conservancy at Gantry Plaza State Park will run from 7PM-9PM (line closes at 840PM).

There are no reservations required to be a public participant. Just show up!

If you want to join our volunteer crew in making these community gifts possible, please register by 5PM on Wednesday, here:

Only by registering can you volunteer.

Here are the volunteer roles for the program:

Desk assistants: help people sign waivers and distribute environmental educational materials.
Life vest fitters: help ensure that people are wearing the right size life vest and that straps are pulled tight for a safe, snug fit.
Dock hands: help launch and land kayaks. This is more physically demanding and requires a bit of training.
Water safety: Requires experience with HarborLAB and/or Red Cross and other water safety certifications.

Many thanks to Waterfront Alliance for grants to help purchase safety equipment and cover other expenses, and to our regular sponsors.