Hackensack River Past, Present, Future

by | Jul 17, 2023 | Educational Tools, Hackensack River Past, Present, and Future, Scientific research vessels

From the Ice Age to Sea Level Rise—Connecting the Hackensack River’s Past, Present, and Future

Organized by Dr. Michael J Passow

Supported by the Robert and Catherine Murray Charitable Trust

With support from the Robert and Catherine Murray Charitable Trust, we are developing a suite of educational resources to teach about the fascinating geologic and social history of the Hackensack Meadowlands and River in the  Newark Lowlands. We combine written descriptions of the geologic history and historical development of the region with lesson plans, suggestions for field trips to representative locations, and forecasts for future impacts from rising sea level and climate changes.
This project is aimed at middle and high school Earth and Environmental Science teachers in Districts within the study area, although other interested educators may be selected.

Related Resources

Curriculum Materials and Project Suggestions


In the Summer of 2016, we hosted a two-day workshop to:

  • Review educational materials produced to date
  • Develop lesson plans to present these products to middle and high school students
  • Plan for future professional development programs that will disseminate the project’s product
  • They built on work that began during Jul 2015 when selected participants examined existing scientific and educational resources, State and National Science Education Standards, and other materials, then started development of new resources to teach about the Hackensack River and vicinity. Included in that week were field experiences to sites in Bergen, and Hudson Counties, including exploration by kayak/canoe and the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute. We continued to refine preliminary products through web-based discussion boards. In October, additional participants gathered at Lamont to provide feedback about the initial products and suggestions for continued development.

Even if you were not part of this, you can always provide feedback by emailing the form below to michael@earth2class.org.

Product review response form

Results of the curriculum development were disseminated through Earth2Class Workshop on September 10, at the October 8 Lamont-Doherty Open House, and in presentations at the NJ Science Convention and Science Teachers Association of New York State Conference. An article submitted to The Earth Scientist (quarterly journal of the National Earth Science Teachers Association) is currently in editorial revue. Special workshops will be presented in other venues during the next two or three years.


Participating Teachers:

Anatoly Markovich, Bogota HS, Bogota, NJ (Jul 2015 and 2016)

Renee Aubry, Port Chester High School (July 2016)
Lisa Klepp, Morris Hills High School (July 2016)
Douglas Schmid, Nassau Community College and Western Suffolk BOCES (July 2016)
Tom Mullane, Pearl River, High School (July 2016)

Magali Dupuy, Ramapo High School (Oct 2015)
Umit Kenis, Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics (Oct 2015)
Larry Leung, Lakeland High School and Walter Panas High School (Oct 2015)
Mei Yip-Chen, South Orangetown Middle School (Oct 2015)

Project Schedule and History


Mon-Tue 18 – 19 Jul
Workshop for selected participants to review resources developed to date and create accompanying lesson plans.

Jul – Oct
 Revisions and additions to the online resources

Sat. 10 Sep  Earth2Class Workshop
 Sharing of activities and results from class pilot testing.

Sat. 8 Oct
Presentations at the LDEO Open House


Mon, 13 Jul
Welcome to program & LDEO. Overview of NGSS & NJ Standards. Overview of Hackensack Study Area. Goals for products. Begin examination of resources (print and online). Tour of campus.

Tue., 14 Jul
Group discussions of curricula needs and potential impediments. Continued exploration of resources and initial brain-storming of products.

Wed. 15 Jul
Field experiences from Hackensack Meadowlands (River Barge ParkMERI Environmental Center)

Thu, 16 Jul
Continued refinement of products, incorporating field experiences.

Fri., 17 Jul
Wrap-up of group activities; share-out; “charges” for continued work.

July 2015 – July 2016
Refine and expand website Resource and Curricular Materials

Sat. 3 Oct    Earth2Class Workshop
Sharing of activities and results from class pilot testing.

Additional Outreach Activities

>Presentations at NJSTA and NSTA (Oct 2016), STANYS (Nov 2016) & other conferences in the next 2 years
>Article for NESTA quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist  (in editorial review)
>Presentations in conjunction with the Hackensack Riverkeeper, Suez Water New Jersey, Flat Rock Brook Nature Center of Englewood, and other venues
>Evaluation of project
>Report for Murray Foundation