April 21, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Mount Saint Mary College students take part in the DEC
eel-monitoring project in the Quassaick Creek.
Just in time for Earth Day, Mount Saint Mary College science
students aided the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s
(DEC) eel-monitoring project in Newburgh’s Quassaick Creek.
The project entails students heading to the creek and counting
eels that have been caught in nets.
The tiny, nearly transparent American eels are born in the ocean
and migrate upstream to live, eventually returning to the ocean to
spawn. According to the DEC, the species is in decline and baseline
studies of their populations are “crucial for management
The tiny, nearly transparent American eels are born in the
ocean and head upstream to live in Newburgh’s Quassaick
Associate biology professor Suparna Bhalla and the Mount’s
students have participated in the DEC’s Citizen Science: American
Eel Research project for several years. But it’s not the only way
the Mount’s Natural Sciences division has worked to protect our
As part of an ongoing study, associate biology professor Douglas
Robinson and biology student Dominick DeCaterina of Newburgh, N.Y.
marked nestling American and Fish Crows, examining the timing of
incubation and climate change. Robinson donned protective gear and
climbed up to the nests, located in City of Newburgh trees, to mark
the birds. According to Robinson, animals, particularly those
living in close association with humans, can provide tremendous
insight into the wellbeing of the natural environment.
Last year, ten Mount students enjoyed hands-on lessons in
conservation nearly 9,000 miles away from home.
Through a collaboration with the Mount’s Office of International
Programs, Robinson immersed the students in experiential learning
during 24 days in New Zealand, from rescuing fish to clearing out
nonindigenous plants. The course focused on conservation