All posts by maougon

Mauricio Gonzalez studied Marine Biology in Colombia South America and worked on coral reef community ecology for 3 years before becoming a teacher in the NYC public school system. Because of his background, he understood the vital role of applied research in conservation. However, he’s also come to understand that research performed within the confines of exclusive institutions is limited in what it can accomplish. Therefore, to address the problems of environmental degradation he sought to expose underrepresented youth to STEM programs that he has created such the Schwartz Science and Urban Ecology programs in Harlem and the Marine Biology Research and Harbor SEALS programs on Governors Island. His programs have aimed to support and develop youth’s curiosity in the natural sciences through project formulation, management, and execution. By directly including our youth in the research process, science and it’s applications will have a far wider reach and make more meaningful contributions to our planet and, thus, to society.

Harbor SEALs Launch First Workshop

Harbor SEALs launch 2012
2012 Harbor SEALs

We launched our first workshop of the school year today. We had a great turn out as students from grades 10 through 12 came together to learn more about our great Harbor and the Hudson River Watershed. Using the Black Rock Forest Virtual Lab units that the director helped to create, the students embarked in a virtual tour of the Hudson River starting with a map to help define the term watershed. We then worked our way through the Troy Dam, stopped to inspect the recuperating populations of Atlantic Sturgeon, and headed down to Norrie Point to discuss the invasive water chestnut.

At one point we got into a heated debate on the ethics of Catch and Release: Should humans have the right to partake in leisurely activities at the cost of other animals’ lives or well-being. The debate got very heated but in the end, we understood that individuals can have different levels of ideals when it comes to what’s socially acceptable. But most importantly, we all agree that nature needs to come first if we humans want to “keep on keeping on.”

PD. As is our tradition, we took a serious shot of the kids (above figure) but also a wacky one. To see the latter, navigate over to the IMAGO tab above. Enjoy;)


Harbor SEALs Come to Life!

On September 22nd the Harbor SEALs embarked on their first expedition of the 2012 school year to monitor the relative mass of plankton and plastic in the Hudson River Estuary. Aboard the NOMAD, the SEALs monitored physical-chemical parameters of the water and practiced sampling protocols in order to deploy a 20 foot plankton net with manta (Marvin) into the waters south of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.