Community rowing

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Photo: Addy Guance and kids on the Bronx River.

Today I feel that very often I have more opportunities to connect with nature here in the Bronx than upstate in Ithaca. Seriously. In Ithaca I have explored several beautiful gorges and parks around the Cornell University campus, but you have to drive if you want to experience more, and I don’t have a car. In the Bronx it’s much easier logistically to go on a river trip, to find opportunities to volunteer in a community garden, or to just to enjoy many other green spaces that are very educational – such as green roofs, rain gardens, and butterfly gardens. In addition, in the Bronx there is more contrast between densely populated areas and open space, which makes the former even more valuable.

Come to Rocking the Boat if you want to experience the Bronx River. Rocking the Boat is an organization that engages high school students in boat building and in the restoration of aquatic ecosystems in the Bronx River and the Upper New York Harbor. This summer every Saturday youth and educators from Rocking the Boat organize free community rowing. Today I could not miss this opportunity. The weather was nice and the tide was very high. Youth from Rocking the Boat welcomed me in the Hunts Point Riverside Park, and then I got on a boat with Addy Guance, the Director of the On-Water program, and several children who have never experienced a boat ride. Addy has tremendous expertise in youth development and environmental education, and I am looking forward to learning from her during the next year during our research project. When we got back from this ride, I have noticed that more and more people were standing next to the Rocking the Boat tent to sign up for a ride. Some boat riders were 10 years old, and one woman was about 90 years old; she said that she lived in this community 80 years ago and has not been here since then. Many discoveries and many meaningful stories happen here, and Rocking the Boat definitely helps local communities to reconnect with and appreciate the Bronx River.

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