Two events this spring, organized by education staff at Clarkson’s Beacon campus, cleaned up 700 total pounds of marine debris and surface pollution from the Hudson River. Dedicated student leaders and public volunteers joined the Clarkson-led clean up projects near its site in Denning’s Point State Park, a 70-acre nature preserve and peninsula in the river.
“Our student leadership and public service programs connect Clarkson to our local Hudson Valley communities, and help us to engage people in active ecological stewardship,” said Asher Pacht, director of environmental programs.
On Saturday, April 23, a group of 25 High school students cleared 360 pounds of trash from Denning’s Point shores and trails. The students are part of the Youth Leadership Program (YLP), administered by The Chamber Foundation of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. YLP is an innovative leadership development program designed to develop the academic, social, and life skills of Dutchess County high school students.
Clarkson’s Beacon Institute was selected from this year’s applicants to host the 2022 Youth Leadership Day of Service. Clarkson education staff designed the project and the service day to foster real-life interpersonal, organizational, and public leadership skills with tangible impact. After the parkwide clean-up, students participated in a stewardship workshop in which they created PSAs to bring back to their communities and the Chamber in an effort to spread awareness of environmental issues and solutions.
On May 7, despite rainy conditions, a group of public volunteers turned out for Clarkson’s annual “Denning’s Point Cleanup”, which was one of over 100 events organized as part of the 11th Annual Riverkeeper Sweep. Individuals began the day at the park trailhead greeted by Clarkson staff, and retrieved trash from several of Denning’s Point beaches. Together, the volunteers cleared a total of 340 pounds of trash and recyclables from the park. Notable finds included several tires, part of a boat and large chunks of styrofoam.
Surface and aquatic trash are detrimental to the natural environment and dangerous to both humans and animals. Over the past six years, Clarkson’s annual Cleanup programs have removed thousands of pounds of debris from the river beaches and park trails.
For a list of community science events and volunteer opportunities, see the Beacon website at www.clarkson.edu/beacon.