Submerge Marine Science Festival

By Thairy Lantigua

Hundreds of curious kids and parents took over Hudson River Park’s Pier 84 September 22 for the “Submerge Marine Science Festival,” a celebration of coastal waters and marine life. It was an interactive day of science with hands-on activities, experiments, and kayaking.

“It’s a great opportunity for families to connect and for kids to learn about marine life, and robotics,” said Nushrat Iva, 15, a student at the High School for Environmental Studies who volunteered at the event, alongside 10 other classmates.

Kids moved from station to station on the pier, conducting experiments and collecting stickers to earn prizes. In a discovery lab, kids interesting facts like what happens when you flush, how to create nail polish remover and how to make slime. The river ranger kid zone showed animals up close and they were able to interact with smaller species in a tank. In big city fishing, kids and their parents were able to able to engage with environmental educators about water quality and fish biology while fishing on the Hudson River.

“My oldest son just asks me questions like what happens when we flush the toilet and they just did a presentation on that!” said Amy Clow, 40, a stay home mom. “It keeps them active, and in our case is also close to home.”

Children learned that adding cold liquid nitrogen to boiling water creates a violent reaction that vaporizes water. Liquid nitrogen makes the water condense back to small drops, which is what is known as a cloud. In turtle talk, kids discovered interesting facts about turtles and ways to protect their habitat.

“The kids learn about the environment and the ecosystem and have fun,” said Ying Fang, 28, an event volunteer. “They are learning in a non-traditional way and that’s what makes submerge so exciting and enjoyable.”

Many were first-time visitors, but others had been attending the event for several years. “I come here with my daughters and grandkids, who are very active if I might add,” said Juana Cespedes, 58, grandmother of four. “It’s a great way for us to spend quality time but also to enjoy the fantastic view.”

Hudson River Park has celebrated the festival for five years, with the help of schools, and organizations like the Hudson River Park Estuary Lab, LES Ecology Center, Randall’s Island Park Alliance, and City Parks Foundation.

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