Near, On and In the Hudson River at Yonkers

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Presentation given by Cliff Schneider, of the Beczak Environmental Education Center in Yonkers, July 2009. For related activities and lesson plans visit

Presentation given by Cliff Schneider, of the Beczak Environmental Education Center in Yonkers, July 2009. For related activities and lesson plans visit

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  • 1. Beczak Environmental Education Center A Tradition of Education, Outreach and Stewardship
  • 2. Throughout its history, Beczak has been committed to educating the public about the natural resources of the Hudson River.
  • 3. Located right on the Hudson River, there couldn’t be a better place to explore the wonders of the natural world!
  • 4. However, the beautiful building and grounds you are visiting today, weren’t always quite so beautiful.
  • 5. A view of our building and grounds as renovations begin.
  • 6. The park and marsh areas prior to construction and planting.
  • 7. Beczak Environmental Education Center as seen today.
  • 8. Our marsh was planted by staff and volunteers from Beczak.
  • 9. Daily happenings at Beczak:
    • School programs
    • Year-long program at Foxfire Elementary School
    • After school environmental clubs
    • Beczak Summer Adventures
    • Professional development workshops
    • River and marsh cleanups
    • Aquaria
    • Work with volunteers and interns
    • Staff development and training
    • Curriculum development
  • 10. School Programs: Throughout the school year, Beczak works with approximately 5000 students at the center and off-site.
  • 11. School Programs: A group of students helping the educators search the seine net.
  • 12. School Programs: A hogchoker on display for students during a seining program.
  • 13. School Programs: A class poses for a picture by our Hudson River Species Display before venturing out into the river.
  • 14. School Programs: Students are learning about the geography of the Hudson River with our Estuary Model.
  • 15. Foxfire Elementary: Beczak has developed a year-long curriculum for weekly visits to the 2 nd grade classes at Foxfire.
  • 16. Foxfire Elementary: One of the culminating activities for the students at Foxfire is a trip to Palisades Interstate Park.
  • 17. Environmental Clubs: Beczak coordinates environmental clubs at Emerson and Mark Twain Middle Schools.
  • 18. Environmental Clubs: A trip to Beczak for seining and exploration is the culminating activity for students involved in the clubs.
  • 19. Summer Programming: This past summer marked the pilot run of our Beczak Summer Adventures program.
  • 20. Summer Programming: Beczak Summer Adventures was considered to be highly successful and enjoyed by all those involved.
  • 21. Professional Development: Beczak holds professional development workshops for area teachers and educators.
  • 22. Professional Development: Many of Beczak’s workshops are run in partnership with staff from the DEC.
  • 23. Stewardship: Students learn about the importance of pollution through events such as river and marsh cleanups on Earth Day.
  • 24. Special Events: Throughout the year, Beczak holds several Hudson River themed events, such as the Earth Week programming below.
  • 25. Special Events: During the summer, Beczak, in collaboration with the Yonkers Paddle and Rowing Club, holds a campfire event.
  • 26. Special Events: Singing while roasting marshmallows in the campfire.
  • 27. Festivals: Whenever possible, Beczak educators attend various festivals promoting the importance of the Hudson River.
  • 28. Volunteers/Interns: Volunteers help the education staff complete tasks such as marsh maintenance, aquaria, and program preparation.
  • 29. Volunteers/Interns: Grants make it possible for us to work with high school interns. Below are students who helped us with Summer Adventures.
  • 30. Staff Development: Beczak educators routinely attend professional development workshops. In addition, the staff embarked on a team-building trip.
  • 31. Staff Development: Hiking to the source of the Hudson River, Lake Tear of the Clouds.
  • 32. Staff Development: The group standing in the middle of Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack Mountains.
  • 33. What’s New?: Say hello to the latest addition to our aquaria collection. A snapping turtle!
  • 34. What’s New?: Beczak recently installed an exhibit called The Palisades Revealed. Take a trip through time to examine the forces that shaped the Palisades into what they are today.
  • 35. Future Projects:
    • Expansion of weekend programming
    • Additions to the Palisades exhibit
    • Development of a Palisades curriculum
    • Continued work on the Three Rivers Teacher Guide
    • Completion of the marsh booklet
    • Website updates
  • 36. How You Can Help: Beczak Environmental Education Center provides interactive educational experiences focused on the local watersheds. Our goal is to encourage stewardship of the environment within our communities. Thanks to your past, current and future support, it will be possible for us to expand our programming, collaborate with new and exciting partners, and continue to grow as an organization. It is also our goal to provide more free family programming to educate the public about the importance of our river ecosystems.
  • 37. Beczak Environmental Education Center Learn to love your river!