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Pace University Students:
Hands On & All In for the Environment

Collection Expedition,  Little Stony Point, Hudson Highlands State Park

Pace students representing many different majors began their annual field trip to the Hudson River on Sandy Beach in Hudson Highlands State Park, a short ride from the Pleasantville and NYC campuses. In just a two-minute seine of the shallows they collected hundreds of young menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) (which we later returned to the river live). Each spring, millions of adult menhaden migrate from the ocean to spawn in the Hudson estuary’s fresh water reaches. Once hatched, the post-yolk sac larvae, and later larvae, slosh back and forth in the tidal currents as they mature.

By late summer, young-of-the-year menhaden have progressed half-way down the estuary toward saltier water. When hearty enough, they enter the ocean to grow for three years before migrating back to the Hudson to spawn. Menhaden are anadromous fish — they live in the ocean and spawn in fresh water. Also known as “moss bunker” or “bunker,” they are a key species in the coastal food chain, and a source of food for Hudson River bluefish and striped bass in the summer. Menhaden are imperiled by the ocean fishery that supplies the cosmetics and other industries.


Researching Turtles and Aquatic Habitat Affected by Highways

A New York State grant from the Hudson River Estuary Management Program enabled a team composed of students from the Pace undergraduate and graduate environmental program to work during Summer 2016 investigating culverts that interrupt and disconnect aquatic habitat, and an upstate turtle population threatened by road traffic. Their hope is that this research will help New York State to develop practices that reduce the threats of highways to wildlife.

Exploring National Audubon’s Constitution Marsh Sanctuary

Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary is a unique and beautiful tidal marsh located in Garrison, New York. Each September, Pace students team up with Sanctuary director Eric Lind in an exploration of this vital Hudson River habitat. From Audubon’s canoes they learn firsthand about the workings of this magnificent estuarine wetland, and the plants and animals that call it home.

Lobbying to Ban Elephants from Circuses, Albany

Students of the Pace Environmental Policy Clinic wrote the Elephant Protection Act to enact a state ban on elephants in entertainment, such as circuses. It was introduced in both houses of the New York State legislature in 2016, and passed unanimously in the state senate. Successful action is expected in the full legislature in 2017.

Billion Oyster Project and NY Harbor School, Governor’s Island, NYC

Federal funding from the National Science Foundation is enabling students from the Pace Masters in Environmental Policy Program to work with the New York Harbor School and Billion Oyster Project to involve high school students in the development of a new public policy model for restoring oysters to the Harbor.

Investigating Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics

Plastic microbeads in consumer products such as shampoos, toothpaste and facial scrubs, flush down our drains, slip through treatment systems, and are discharged into waterways where they are consumed or absorbed by fish and wildlife. Clinic students investigated for themselves in the Pace microbiology laboratory. They decided to join with New York State groups calling for a ban, and met with top government officials in Westchester and Putnam Counties to present their findings and seek support. In 2015, the Federal Microbead Free Waters Act was enacted. Modeled after a law proposed in New York State, it bans the use of microbeads by January 1, 2018.