Imagine a child who might wander down to the Hudson River and be given the opportunity to see up close what creatures are swimming and crawling in the mysterious river that flows through their community. Imagine that they will learn about the history of the once great economic machine and marine highway that has existed for centuries, and then, to finish, they’ll climb aboard a boat and go out on the river, or dive in with waders and wetsuits.
That’s the mission of the Hudson Sloop Club. The Club received funding from the Community Loan Fund to construct and operate the Everett Nack Environmental Education Center, which is designed to offer hands-on displays and activities centered around introducing visitors – especially students and educators – to the glorious Hudson River.
“The Community Loan Fund made it possible for us to realize the long-standing dream of building the Everett Nack Environmental Education Center for the people of the City of Hudson,” says Nick Zachos, Executive Director, Hudson Sloop Club. “Thanks to the Community Loan Fund, our small volunteer-run non-profit is able to do big things.”
The Hudson Sloop Club also offers fishing, boating, ecology, and even boat-building courses for youth.
The Center will have a learning library of books and resources about the River’s ecology, and history, and information about local boat rentals, tours, and other recreational opportunities. The facility will also be equipped with technology for water quality monitoring and recording, for seine netting, and with shared fishing gear and tackle. A full cycle estuary viewing station will include a digital microscope connected to a computer and projector for large scale viewing. The Center is a resource for local scientists, students and researchers, enabling access to valuable ecological data and a flexible space for interpretive learning.
The facility’s location at Hudson’s waterfront will place this dynamic environmental and educational resource directly in the heart of the urban community of Hudson. According to the US Census Bureau, 25% of Hudson’s population lives below the poverty line – and many children within the community have not had the opportunity to experience the river – even though they live only steps from its banks. “While we aim to serve the entire community of Hudson, we also have a specific interest and focus on the youth of Hudson,” says Zachos.”Everyone should have safe access to the Hudson River and we want the Everett Nack Estuary Education Center to the that gateway.”
Construction on the Center began in Spring 2019 and is expected to be finished Summer 2020.