More than 30 high school students will test the waters of Queens as part of a special City University of New York (CUNY) summer program.
Macaulay Honors College of CUNY is hosting the course to sample and analyze water at the Queens base of the Throgs Neck Bridge, Flushing Bay and Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, so students can learn about threats to the ecosystem.
Led by Queens College professor and oceanographer Gillian Stewart, students from Brooklyn Tech H.S. will identify issues facing each body of water and think of possible solutions.
The site sampling is intended to foster students’ interest in science and the environment and the program will begin on June 30. On July 3 students will take a full-day field trip to the sites to sample the bodies of water.
“We really just want to take the students out there to show them New York is surrounded by water,” Stewart said. “But New York has one of the most contaminated waterways in the country.”
Students will analyze water samples from the three sites and use tools to identify the pH and oxygen levels, the amount of metal in the water, plankton and the diversity of sea life. They will also identify threats such as the raw sewage that leaks into Flushing Bay and the pollution from car traffic into Meadow Lake, Stewart said.
Although the program will show students issues facing the waterways, Stewart hopes the students stay positive.
“Most New Yorkers don’t realize how threatened those waters are,” Stewart said. “I hope these students walk away with an interest in science and environment…but also the optimism that they could make a difference.”