BEACON, NY– Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has been awarded $40,000 from the Dorr Foundation to expand Clearwater’s award-winning environmental education programs. Clearwater’s Microplastics Pollution Prevention Program will raise the alarm about microplastics pollution, a new threat to the Hudson River that serves as a pathway for other pollutants to enter and contaminate the food chain.

The Dorr Foundation grant will fund activities such as teacher trainings, in-class workshops, shoreline programs and sails on the sloop Clearwater for a total of 1,250 students in schools led by Clearwater educators emphasizing the importance of microplastics pollution prevention. Teachers will collect samples using a special net called a “manta trawl,” thus enabling them to witness the pollution first hand.  School programs will develop students’ understanding of microplastics pollution and focus on the actions individuals, households, organizations, businesses and local officials can take to reduce pollution, thus becoming stewards of the Hudson River and its tributaries.

In-class workshops will demonstrate microplastics debris and include learning stations for hands-on exploration of water chemistry, watershed dynamics, wastewater treatment and environmental issues facing river communities.  Sails and shoreline programs will cover the same material while also giving students the chance to study microplastics debris in the river.

“This grant will allow Clearwater to zoom in on microbeads and other contaminant microplastics. While a federal ban on microbeads was recently signed into law, this will take care of only a small portion of the problem. For example, microplastic fibers from fleece clothing are shed in every wash cycle. Understanding what types of microplastics are entering the Hudson and from where will help us best address how to reduce this pollution” said Dave Conover, Clearwater’s interim Executive Director.

The Dorr foundation has generously supported Clearwater with over $100,000 in grants since 2000. The Microplastics Pollution Prevent Program grant is a two-year grant.

During the sailing season Clearwater serves the Hudson River with unique education programs where the focus is experiential. Students come aboard and learn about Hudson River ecology, history and navigation.