Coastal Perspectives Lecture – March 9, 2021

“glass eel” by canopic is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Hudson River Eel Project: Fish Conservation through Community Engagement

Chris Bowser, M.S., NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve

Kristi Leora Gansworth, Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabeg citizen and Ph.D. candidate at York University


Chris Bowser is the Education Coordinator for the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and the Hudson River Research Reserve, in partnership with the Water Resource Institute of Cornell University. Chris’s current work with the NYSDEC focuses on environmental education and citizen science in the Hudson River Valley. He helps coordinate an annual estuary‐wide monitoring day involving 5000 students and educators at over 90 shoreline sites, leads teacher training workshops on incorporating Hudson River topics into school curriculum, and designs on‐site and distance learning programs for the Norrie Point Environmental Center. He started community‐science project where 1000 volunteers collect daily information on migrating American eels into Hudson River tributaries from NYC to Albany. This project is supported by 1,000 annual volunteers who have released over 1,000,000 eels above barriers to migration.

Bowser’s professional experience includes working as a Peace Corps reforestation volunteer in Mauritania, serving as Education Director for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, mapping river shorelines, conducting environmental education workshops in Haiti and Ireland, and teaching at environmental science at Marist College and Bard College. He was awarded a 2014 Environmental Quality Award by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the 2020 Leadership Award from the New York State Outdoor Education Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rutgers University and a master’s degree in environmental science from Clark University. Chris has served on the Board of Rocking the Boat and Ocean Protection Advocacy Kids, and volunteers as an EMT for the Town of Esopus Volunteer Ambulance Squad.

Kristi Leora Gansworth is an enrolled citizen of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabeg and Ph.D. candidate at York University. As an Indigenous geographer, Leora is interested in the ways that Anishinaabe knowledge can direct current and future generations to vision, understand and experience Mino bimaadiziwin, a balanced way of life, through environmental health and wellness.

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