youth development



Using scientific instruments, following detailed protocols, and working alongside environmental professionals, students and apprentices collect water quality data, monitor birds and fish, reintroduce native plant and animal species, and perform restoration work that is helping to bring the Bronx River back to life after years of neglect.

featured student and job skills projects

bacteria monitoring

Key players in a project that started in summer, 2014, apprentices are monitoring Enterroccocus bacteria levels (Enterroccocus is a bacteria uniquely found in human sewage).  They collected samples from two different sites once a week for eight consecutive weeks, then analyzed them with special equipment.  Results showed that the presence of pathogen indicators is astronomically high after rain events, but decreases dramatically after dry periods.  Through this project it was also discovered that an outflow pipe on the border of Westchester County is dumping raw sewage into the Bronx River.

seaweed bioextraction

In this cutting edge research project that was the third installment of a collaboration with scientists at the University of Connecticut, Environmental apprentices grew Gracilariatikvahiae seaweed at the mouth of the Bronx River.  The seaweed grew on two sets of 40-meter lines placed near the mouth of the River, and removed harmful inorganic nutrients (e.g. nitrogen and carbon) through a process called nutrient bioextraction.  Apprentices traveled to the farm site every two weeks throughout the growing season to trim the seaweed and bring it back to Rocking the Boat where it was weighed to determine how much it grew.  Samples were also collected to send to a lab at the University of California Davis, which performed tests to establish presence of the delta of the N-15 isotope, an indicator of the percentage of nitrogen extracted that originates in human sewage.  They also measured environmental parameters, including light, salinity, temperature, water chemistry, and turbidity (a measure of water surface cloudiness) every two weeks.

Rocking the Boat is always teaching me something new. This experience has made me feel capable, and given me a sense of responsibility to my work and to myself.

Rigoberto Garcia, former On-Water student and Environmental Job Skills apprentice


Rocking the Boat is grateful to the following partners who allow environmental science to be such a powerful experience for our students and the larger Hunts Point community:

Billion Oyster Project
Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science and Technology Education Center (BRASTEC)
Bronx River Alliance
Clark University
Hudson River Foundation
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater

Long Island Sound Study
Waterfront Alliance
New York Botanical Garden
New York City Audubon
New York City Soil and Water Conservation District
NY/NJ Baykeeper

Rebuild by Design
Rozalia Project
Storm Water Infrastructure Matters
University of Connecticut Stamford
Wildlife Conservation Society

kids don’t just build boats, boats build kids

rocking the boat
812 edgewater road
bronx, ny 10474
phone: 718.466.5799
fax: 718.466.2892