From the Forest to the River and Back Again
Over the past couple of years, Rocking the Boat has developed its forestry program. But for the first time, this semester, students not only harvested their own lumber, but used their hand-built boats to do native species plantings and other restoration work on the banks of the Bronx River. This creates a sustaining cycle, where students build something from resources taken from local forests, and then use that creation to plant new habitats.This process is at the heart of Rocking the Boat’s activities, instilling its students with the power to change the world around them step by step, knowing the process through and through. During Spring Break in April, boatbuilding students travelled north to the Hudson Valley to saw down a white oak tree on park land owned and managed by the Scenic Hudson Land Trust. Scenic Hudson educators came out for the day to lead a hike through the same woods the students harvested their lumber. That evening Rocking the Boat students camped at the the edge of the Hudson River at the Esopus Meadows Environmental Center, managed by the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. That same week on the Bronx River, as part of a project sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmosperic Administration, Rocking the Boat Habitat Monitors worked with NYC Parks Department wetland restoration specialists and Sustainable South Bronx trainees, using their whitehalls to transport cordgrass mats for installation on the estuary riverbanks. The seed plugs planted in those mats will grow to create a healthy spawning habitat for fish and other macroinvertabrates along the riverbank. Rocking the Boat students are experiencing the entire process -- from the forest to the river and back again.