A Pyranha in the Pod!

Pyranha Speeder kayak. Photo by Robert Zaleski for Canoe & Kayak.

Pyranha Speeder kayak. Photo by Robert Zaleski for Canoe & Kayak.

HarborLAB grew its kayak fleet over the weekend, thanks to the generous support of TF Cornerstone and the Hunters Point, LIC community! At a deep discount from our friends at the Manhattan Kayak Company, we’ve added three Jackson Kayak Rivieras, one Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145, and one Piranha Speeder. The boats were gently used, especially the Piranha, which is like new. Our volunteers will use them as guide boats for tours, runabouts for Newtown Creek monitoring, and to provide safety patrolling at our popular Gantry Plaza State Park community paddles. Now our ten signature green tandem Ocean Kayak Malibu II XL boats, proudly carrying the TF Cornerstone logo, can be fully devoted to public paddlers!

Our new hot pink Pyranha will also play a special role in HarborLAB’s environmental mission as the flagship (“flagyak?”) boat for our participation in the Hudson River Watertrail Association’s annual Paddle for a Cure to benefit the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. As the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences explains, breast cancer is often linked to environmental factors. In May, HarborLAB named and beautifully flagged one of its educational canoes in honor of a founder of the modern environmental movement, author and marine biologist Rachel Carson. Carson died of breast cancer shortly after the publication of her landmark book, “Silent Spring.” The Silent Spring Institute promotes research into environmental risk factors in often-preventable cancers, like breast cancer. Its affiliated social and biological scientists also research how environmental injustice might contribute to the development of “cancer clusters” in marginalized communities. HarborLAB looks forward to learning how we might augment the Silent Spring Institute’s work in New York City.

Many thanks to the volunteers who helped make our pod bigger! Bob Din, for helping us strengthen our relationship with TF Cornerstone; Roy Harp, for scoping out and selecting the boats; Emmanuel Steier, Joe Block, Patricia Erickson, Erik Baard, and Alessandro Byther for helping with the pickup; and Davis Janowski for helping with the pickup and deepening our relationship with Manhattan Kayak Company. We’re thrilled and grateful that American Canoe Association certified instructor, Julieta Gismondi-Grecco of Manhattan Kayak Company, has offered to provide safety training to our new volunteers!

 

WP_20141116_007 WP_20141116_010carson_thumb

 

 

Winter Solstice with Rachel Carson, 51 Years Ago

A beautiful winter solstice passage from the immortal correspondence between Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman.

A winter solstice passage from the immortal correspondence between Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman.

HarborLAB is amassing a small library of environmental science books to enrich students and volunteers. Our newest addition is Always, Rachel. This is the page revealed when we opened it for the first time. We’re happy to share this glimpse of the Winter Solstice fifty-one years ago. It was Rachel Carson’s penultimate Winter Solstice.

Rachel Carson is often credited with sparking the modern American environmental movement with her book, Silent Spring. Some forget that she was already an acclaimed nature writer with books and articles that grew out of her work as a federal marine biologist. One reader of The Sea Around Us, Dorothy Freeman, developed a powerful bond with Carson that would celebrate her rising recognition and endure through to her death from cancer in the spring of 1964. Both women destroyed many of their letters shortly before Carson’s death. The surviving correspondence is rich with insights into this leading 20th century communicator of environmental science. Freeman’s granddaughter rendered a great service to us all when she gathered them for this book, published in 1995.

WP_20131222_009