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Hudson River Fish Advisory Project

HRFA Fran Martino 2

HRFA Science Club from the Windham Ashland Jewett School District

Since the summer of 2014, the Rensselaer Land Trust has been the recipient of a NYS Department of Health grant to educate people on eating fish from the Hudson River and its tributaries. Environmental educator and EPA Environmental Champion Award winner Fran Martino runs the program for the Rensselaer Land Trust. She offers school and after school programs, seine net fishing expeditions, “Stream Spotting” water quality monitoring training, and canoe trips. The program has provided outreach and education to more than 5,000 participants since 2014, and is now a regular program offering at the New York State Museum in Albany. Search for "Go Fish" family programs at NYS museum's website.

Fran teaches people how to identify different species of fish, and advises people on which fish from which waters are safe to eat in what quantity. Although the Hudson River and its tributaries are much cleaner today than they were 30 years ago, there are still contaminants in the water that are absorbed by plants and animals and may be harmful to people.

Fran has been working with students from The Sage Colleges who will be presenting their capstone projects at the Russell Sage Undergraduate Symposium on April 25, 2018. In collaboration with Dr. Emilly Obuya, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Departments, and Alison Horton Schaeffing, Director of Service-Learning at Sage, students are participating in the course: Introduction to Research Methods which includes a mandatory capstone project where their research findings will be useful in their understanding of their local, national and global environment. The capstone study will also serve as a project-based service learning experience where students are assigned a project that will require them to use diverse skills (writing, interviewing, collaborating, and public speaking) to produce results that address real-world problems and issues involving our immediate community.

Educating people about health issues with local fish ties in with Rensselaer Land Trust’s focus on watershed protection and conservation. This program helps us give people the tools they need to enjoy the outdoors safely and to become good environmental stewards.

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