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Nanuet Students Touch, Learn About Eels (VIDEO)

Nanuet HS students can volunteer to join the program, which will bring groups of students to Minisceongo Creek in Haverstraw and sample eels in the spring

 

Up to how many eggs can a female eel lay?

Answer—up to 20 million eggs

On Wednesday, Nanuet High School students received a special presentation by NYSDEC Environmental Educators regarding eels, such as the Complex Life Cycle of American Eels, Hudson River Ecology, Sampling Methods, Sampling Results, and Life Specimens, said Teacher Thomas Danahy of the Science Department, Director of Science Research and Chemistry/Earth Science Instructor. They also brought in a live eel and allowed students to come up and touch it.

The purpose of the assembly was to help organize and kickoff Nanuet students getting involved in an ongoing research effort regarding American Eels in the Hudson River Estuary

Sarah Mount and Zoraida Maloney were the two NYSDEC Environmental Educators with the Hudson River Estuary Program who led the assembly. They spoke about habitats, physical attributes, declining populations, watershed land use and more.

"The NYSDEC is looking to organize a group of students from Nanuet HS to commit to training and sampling of American Eels in the spring on Minisceongo Creek in Haverstraw (near Bowline Powerplant)," said Mount. "I will volunteer as a teacher and I also have two or three ASR students interested.  We would also accept other student volunteers from environmental or biology classes.  Sampling will be weekly for six to eight weeks during mid-March to mid-May."

The program has 12 sites from New York City all the way up to Albany. Groups of students will travel to the creek once or twice a week to sample it, said Mount. The students must volunteer for the program to participate in it. About 10 volunteers will be brought to the site at a time. The eels that students will be catching would be small and fit in the palm of your hand. After catching them, students would count them, weigh them, collect data and release them upstream.

After the presentation, they took questions from the students. 

"I think it's really interesting to learn how eels affect the environment and how it's declined in population," said Freshman Nicole Menetski, who plans to possibly volunteer. "It was cool to see the life stages too."

"It was pretty cool. It's pretty interesting and I'm thinking about joining the volunteer group," said Asef Rahman, another student. "This year they (the program) had big success in catching eels and they're doing it for a good reason." 

Interest in this program began due to several reasons.

"I got in contact with them. I was pretty familiar with the program for quite a while," said Danahy. "This program works well as part of the biology class because it deals with ecology. It's an important aspect of the biology curriculum and is very hands-on."

Kevin Keill, a junior met Diana Cutt, a project manager with USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) at the Rockland County Science Competition last year at Pfizer and Chuck Barone has participated with eel sampling work with NYSDEC in Haverstraw.

Websites for more information about the NYSDEC American Eels Research Program

“Hudson River Eel Project”: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/49580.html

Short video about the project: http://www.dec.ny.gov/dectv/dectv76.html

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