Children's Arts & Science Workshops, Inc.

Haverstraw Brickyard: Environmental Education for Youth & Families

Families of our site at Bronx River Community Center had the opportunity to embark on a trip to the Haverstraw Brickyard – a setting of historic importance – naturally, as it is the site from which the bricks that have built New York City originated. Located in the northern Hudson River Valley, it holds a distinct environmental interest, as the Hudson River is home to numerous aquatic species.

Youth and their families learned the history of the site, particularly the geologic and manufacturing processes that lead to the production of bricks. However, Haverstraw Brickyard is also a part of the Billion Oyster Project, an initiative that seeks to restore one-billion oysters to the Hudson River by 2035. Through their feeding process, oysters act as a natural filter for their ecosystems. Yet, over the years, as people have settled along the Hudson River, overfishing of the native oyster population has led to ecological imbalances.

Thus, this trip was also an excellent opportunity for youth and families to become involved with some of the important work taking place, such as signing; where ecologists will enclose an underwater area with netting and observe the inhabitants of that particular space. This gives both the scientists and participants an idea of the issues facing a specific ecosystem.