Center for the Urban River’s Rivertalks lecture series features Hudson River enthusiasts

The Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club (YPRC), the Board of Directors of the Hudson River Valley Environmental Education Institute, and the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB) present four events in the Rivertalks lecture series. These lectures will focus on the Hudson River and those who live, work, and play on it. The lectures take place at CURB (formerly Beczak Environmental Education Center), 35 Alexander Street, Yonkers, NY, and begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The Graves of Arthur Kill
April 3

On Thursday, April 3 Gary Kane, producer of “The Graves of Arthur Kill,” will screen the 30-minute film he made with Will Van Dorp about the ships’ graveyard on Staten Island and recent developments at the site. Kane will speak about the genesis of the documentary, what attracted him to the project, and the obstacles he and Van Drop had to overcome to bring the project to fruition. “The idea for "Graves of Arthur Kill' came to me in the summer of 2010 when I happened upon some photos of the ship graveyard on the Internet,” says Kane. “I felt the images were aesthetically compelling and was stunned to learn that these wrecks were located on Staten Island. A 2010 New York State Foundation for the Arts grant made the documentary possible. Paddling around the ship graveyard in a borrowed rowboat, Will Van Dorp and I shot footage of the vessels in August 2011. During the course of production, we shot interviews of people familiar with the site and artists who have been influenced by the strange beauty of the wreckage.” A Q&A will follow the screening.

Creating More Vibrant Waterfronts; Reconnecting the Public
April 17

A lecture on April 17 presents James and Kathryn Cervino, a scientist and science writer, respectively. Dr. James Cervino, a visiting scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Earth Institute, whose research focuses on marine pollution, climate change, and coastal habitat restoration, particularly sea grasses and shellfish, will focus on the "little things," and how they control global warming and sea level rise. Kathryn Cervino, a science writer/editor and co-founder/vice president of Coastal Preservation Network (CPN), a not-for-profit organization in Northeast Queens dedicated to restoring the East River shoreline environment, increasing public access to local waters, and empowering community members to be greener in their daily lives, will focus on the work of CPN since its 2002 founding, including important partnerships with the kayaking community in Yonkers and beyond. “Through free kayaking events, shoreline cleanups, sea grass plantings, environmental workshops, and public advocacy at the local, borough, and citywide levels, we are creating more vibrant waterfronts, reconnecting the public to the waters that surround them,” says the couple. James Cervino, who has taught science at the middle school, high school, and college levels since the 1990s, is also environmental chairman of Community Board 7 in Queens. Kathryn Cervino is vice president and parks committee chairperson of the College Point Civic Association.

Mysteries in Mud
May 1

What do slag, marine fossils, and tin crystals have in common? According to Dr. Dallas Abbott, a scientist at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, a major research and teaching laboratory in the earth, environmental, and ocean sciences, they are buried at different depths in Hudson River mud and their microscopic images are both beautiful and informative. “They can tell us about past historical events—how travel on the Hudson evolved,” says Dr. Abbott, who is a coauthor on 62 scientific papers, has traveled the world doing scientific fieldwork, and enjoys collaborations with scientists in many countries. Come see and hear about the environmental history of the Hudson as told by images of marvelous mud.

Swimming the Hudson
May 15

Long-distance swimmers David Barra and Rondi Davies will present “Swimming the Hudson” on Thursday, May 15. In 2011 the pair introduced the first annual “8 Bridges Hudson River Swim,” a 120-mile/seven-stage swim event —the longest in the world. With  Davies and Coney Island Open Water Swimmers (CIBBOWS), Barra brought the “2 Bridges Swim,” a 5K swim race to the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, and will host a US Masters Swimming 10K National Championship event in 2014. Barra has been competing in open water swimming events since 1998 and has focused on long distance for the past several years. In 2010 he completed seven of the 30 “World Swimming Majors” events, including the Maui Channel, the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS), the Catalina Channel, the Boston Light Swim, the English Channel, and the Ederle Swim. A geologist, Davies is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History and adjunct lecturer at City University New York. She grew up in Papua New Guinea and Australia, where swimming is a way of life. In 2011, she completed five of the seven stages of “8 Bridges,” and in 2012 completed the full event. She has notched wins in marathon swims in Long Island Sound and Lake Memphremagog, Vermont and holds the women's record of 5:44, for the fastest Manhattan Island circumnavigation.
The Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club (YPRC) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the paddling community and recreation on the Hudson River in Yonkers. Visit

The Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB), formerly the Beczak Environmental Education Center, is a hub for research and education about the Hudson River, and rivers generally, within the urban environment. CURB was launched in June 2013 as an alliance of Sarah Lawrence College and the Hudson River Valley Environmental Education Institute. Please visit