Sloop Clearwater Volunteer: Shane Nolan

Shane Nolan, now a student at the State University of New York campus in Buffalo, volunteered on board Clearwater when he was still a high school student. Here, he tells in his own words what the experience was like.

Volunteers of all ages, click here if you want to apply.


Shane Nolan, with baggywrinkle accessories, on board the Clearwater.

“I chose to get involved with Clearwater as part of the Croton Harmon High School CHOOSE end-of-year experience. The unique volunteer opportunity immediately struck me as something that would be fun, interesting and fulfilling. Clearwater’s history is well known to people of the Hudson Valley.  As a young kid, I knew about Pete Seeger for his music. Over time, I learned more about his other great accomplishments, as well as the success of his organization, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

The time I spend aboard the Mystic Whaler with the Clearwater team was unforgettable. The crew was an amazing team of selfless individuals with infinite stamina for making positive change.  In the evenings, after the day’s work, we would finish diner and spend quality time together making great conversation, music, and reflecting on our day.  After a day of fast-paced activity, the world would seem to slow down around us as we unwound on the deck, recharging for another day of adventure.

Being part of the crew gave me lots of new perspectives – about teaching, leading, or being part of a team. The valuable experiences I had will be with me forever, and I know they will translate well into future professional endeavors. Some of what we learned on board was specific to river ecology or boating.  Those specific skills have a surprising diversity of applications, however. Clearwater’s syllabus and experiential lessons require critical and analytical thinking that applies to all aspects of life.

I definitely want to come back to volunteer again on the Clearwater this year. Volunteering for this organization does as much good for me personally, as it does to help the Hudson River!”–Shane Nolan


Each year, we take thousands of students and adults out on the Clearwater. We have a tireless crew, great interns, knowledgeable educators, and a well-respected program. None of it would be possible without the volunteers who each give a week of their time to come on board to teach, sail, learn, and live with the crew on the sloop. This year, we have a great need for more volunteers.


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