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Hackensack Riverkeeper Announces 2014 Eco-Programs

Six months of environmental education, active conservation and fun is on tap for all

Hackensack Riverkeeper is pleased to announce its 2014 Eco-Program schedule. Once again the clean water advocacy group is poised to provide thousands of people with an enjoyable and educational experience of the river, its watershed and wildlife. Eco-Cruises, Guided Paddles, boat rentals, River Cleanups, Bird-Walks and more combine hands-on environmental education with public service and fun – and have since 1997. The 2014 season kicks of with EARTHFEST OVERPECK the weekend of April 26-27, and runs through the end of October.


“We are very much looking forward to EarthFest and to introducing more and more people to the river and our mission,” said Captain Bill Sheehan. “Last year just under 7,000 people – a record number – took to the water and the water’s edge with us. This year we hope to see even more and we plan to do even more.”

Hackensack Riverkeeper offers a series of unique and distinct Eco-Program opportunities:

ECO-CRUISES This is Hackensack Riverkeeper’s signature environmental education program. Forty Open Eco-Cruises are scheduled from May 3 through October 12 aboard the pontoon cruisers Edward Abbey and Robert H. Boyle. Open trips are great for individuals, couples and families and can be had for a donation of $25 per person for adults / $10 for kids 4-12. Three distinct Eco-Cruise itineraries are offered: Meadowlands Discovery, which explores the wetlands & creeks of the river’s estuary; Boating through Bergen, which runs upriver to the center of Hackensack and the museum ship USS Ling; and Excursion Around the Bay, a maritime history tour to Staten Island and back past the port facilities of Newark and Elizabeth.

Charter Eco-Cruises can be arranged for groups of up to 26 people for any available date/time May 1 through October 28. Hackensack Riverkeeper asks a donation of $300 per boat for Adult Charter Eco-Cruises and $250 for Youth Charters. Half-day Combo Programs are also available for schools. Those interested can call Program Director Captain Hugh Carola at 201-968-0808 for more info or to book a trip. Open Eco-Cruise dates/times are not available for Charters.

PADDLING CENTER AT LAUREL HILL PARK Hackensack Riverkeeper’s Paddling Center, located on the river at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus, NJ will be open weekends starting on Sunday, April 27 and running through Sunday, October 26 weather permitting. The Center offers canoe & kayak rentals ($25 per paddler w/ a 2-paddler minimum) as well as Guided Paddles conducted by manager John Normile and his team. Sixteen tours are scheduled including five popular Full Moon paddles. Costs: $30 per paddler / $15 per paddler for those their own boat(s). Private Group Paddle tours at reasonable rates can be arranged by calling Capt. Hugh at 201-968-0808 or e-mailing hugh@hackensackriverkeeper.org.

OVERPECK PARK KAYAK (AND CANOE) CENTER 2014 marks the second year that this popular concession will be operating at the centrally-located Bergen County Park. Beginning the weekend of EarthFest and running through Sunday, October 26, the Center will be open for rentals Wednesday-Friday from noon to sunset; and weekends from 9AM to 6PM. Unlike the tidal waters of the Hackensack River, the impounded waters of Overpeck Creek are generally calm and easy for novice paddlers and families with children to navigate. Costs: $15 per paddler (2- paddler minimum) for up to 2 hours; $10 per paddler for each additional hour. Children riding as canoe passengers ride free. Group paddles can also be arranged.

In addition to Center events, Hackensack Riverkeeper’s 6th Annual Reservoir Challenge takes place Saturday, June 7 at Oradell Reservoir; and the 4th Annual Lake Tappan Paddle Day is set for Saturday, July 26. Call 201-968-0808 for details or visit: www.hackensackriverkeeper.org.

RIVER CLEANUPS These active conservation events give people of all ages the opportunity to give back to the environment and their communities. River Cleanups are scheduled at eight different waterside locations within the Hackensack River Watershed from April through November. Hackensack Riverkeeper provides cleanup tools and supplies as well as refreshments for all volunteers. All they ask is that everyone pitch in and help rid local waterways of litter and other debris. For more information about River Cleanups including group participation and the organization’s Corporate River Stewardship Program, call Events and Outreach Coordinator Sarah Menchise at 201-968-0808 or e-mail her at Sarah@HackensackRiverkeeper.org.

BIRD-WALKS For groups interested in birding and bird study, Captain Hugh Carola is available to lead Bird-Walks or hawk watches at local birding hotspots within the Hackensack River Watershed region. For more information, including itinerary options, call 201-968-0808. Costs: $150-$200 depending on location and duration of trip; for up to 12 people.

INDOOR PRESENTATIONS Captains Bill Sheehan and Hugh Carola are available to conduct multimedia presentations to groups of any size. They have a wealth of materials including PowerPoint slideshows and video screenings that are appropriate for all age groups. Presenters will be sure to bring informational literature for all attendees. Costs: $150 if presented within the Bergen, Hudson, southern Rockland, eastern Passaic or greater Newark areas; $200 - $300 if presented further afield. Call 201-968-0808 for more information.

“All of us at Hackensack Riverkeeper are looking forward to a great new season on and about the water,” said Program Director Captain Hugh Carola. “You can act, you can learn, you can work out, or you can just sit back and let the boat and your captain do all the work. Whichever you prefer, we know that you’ll go home with a new appreciation of your Hackensack River.”

All Hackensack Riverkeeper Eco-Program info including schedules is available at www.hackensackriverkeeper.org.

Founded in 1997 by Captain Bill Sheehan, Hackensack Riverkeeper is the leading environmental organization working on Hackensack River issues. A founding member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, the group engages in a four-point clean water strategy (Action, Advocacy, Education and Litigation) in its ongoing work to protect, preserve and restore the Hackensack River. Their Eco-Programs focus on environmental action and education.

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