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Plants and Wildlife

Environmental Education Center Celebrates Estuaries

by Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy 

As you walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park, you’ll likely notice the nearby East River is bustling with activity: you can spot ferries, water taxis, sail boats, kayakers, and even the occasional jet skier. But did you know, beneath the water’s surface exists another scurry of activity—a community just as diverse and vibrant as the cityscape above?

The East River is home to over 200 species of fish and invertebrates. Despite the name, the East River is technically not a true river. It is a special type of ecosystem called an estuary. Estuaries contain brackish water—a mixture of salty ocean water and freshwater from rivers like the Hudson River. Estuaries attract a variety of unique animals, including seahorses, crabs, jellyfish, and eels!

Curious what other animals live in the estuary? The Conservancy’s popular seining program gives park visitors the opportunity to watch as trained staff and scientists use a large net to scoop fish out the East River. The Environmental Education Center’s open hours also gives visitors an opportunity to get a close-up look at some of the fish caught during seining programs.

Parents and children looking at a net on the beach on a cloudy day.

© Etienne Frossard

In fact, this month’s Open Hours theme is estuaries. In addition to a close-up glimpse and interaction with estuary animals, there are a variety of fun games and activities that will expand your knowledge of estuaries. Test out your ability to correctly sort ocean, estuary, and freshwater animals, or use a magnifying glass to get a closer look at some common East River shells. The library is stocked with great marine stories too, such as Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle. Be sure to visit soon to dive into all the fun fish activities!

Small girl reading a picture book

© Alexa Hoyer

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