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.

suspended wetlands

Modelling their work after a successful project in Newtown Creek in Brooklyn, Rocking the Boat participants are designing and building planter boxes that will resemble tiny tidal wetlands of substrate and native grasses.  These boxes will be hung from the concrete bulkheads and built up shorelines of the Bronx River, naturally cleaning the water where no habitat can otherwise grow.  The boxes, built over the winter in our boatshop, will be planted and installed over the spring and monitored all summer.

monitoring indicator bird species

For the 10th year, students and apprentices are conducting surveys of shore and wading bird activity in the estuary section of the Bronx River for the New York City Audubon Society.  In 2018, a special list of species sited on the Bronx River has been created especially for surveys being conducted in affiliation with the U.S. Forest Service.  Students focus on learning how to identify bids on site using field guides and begin to develop data collection skills as  they observe bird behaviors, while apprentices systematically collect data at six sites—Concrete Plant Park, Garrison, Hunts Point Market, Hunts Point Riverside Park, Soundview, and south of the Bruckner Expressway.  Once a week from April through October they watch the designated sites for five minutes, and if a bird is spotted, observe and record its behavior for a period of three minutes.

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