Homework Help River Pollution From Boats

The History of the Hudson

Here we are going to look at some Hudson River facts (for kids), and see what the history and importance of the river has been in the past as well as the present:

History & Discovery

The Hudson River is named for the European explorer Henry Hudson, who explored it in 1609. Hudson was looking for a passing to the Asia when he discovered the river. In 1524, the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano first entered the Hudson but mistook it for an estuary.

The Hudson River flows both North and South. Near the Atlantic, the river flows north, and near its origin in Lake Tear of the Clouds, it flows south.

The Native American tribe of the Iroquois called the river Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk also known as the Great Mohegan. It actually means "the water that moves both ways".

Before the river was explored by Henry Hudson (traveling for the Dutch East India Company), the river was used for travel by the Native Americans.

Colonial Times

The Hudson River valley is the valley of the Hudson River and its neighboring communities in New York. The Hudson River valley played an important role during the French and Indian war in 1750s and the American Revolutionary war. In the 1750s, the British army made the Northern part of the Hudson Valley their defense against the invading French from Quebec.

During Colonial times from the 17th century to 1776, the Hudson River supported a very important and profitable fur trade. The Hudson Valley at this time was used for wheat and timber, which was taken to New York and from there made its way to the entire western world.

The Dutch occupied New York State and settled in two cities on the Hudson. One was called Nieuw Amsterdam, which is now New York City, and the other was Beverwyck, which is today the state capital (Albany).

The major cities along the Hudson include Troy, Hudson, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Peekskill and Yonkers in New York, and Weehawken, Hoboken and Jersey City in the state of New Jersey.

The Hudson is surrounded by incredible beauty. In fact, so much so that it was nicknamed "America's Rhine" because it was being compared to the popular area surrounding the German Rhine River.

Another name for the southernmost portion of the Hudson is the North River. This refers to the area between Manhattan and Hudson County.
Tapan Zee is the widest part of the river.

The Industrial Revolution to Today

The Erie Canal opened in 1825 and connected Lake Erie in the Great Lakes region to the Hudson and onward to Europe. The cost of moving goods was reduced as well as the time it took to transport them. This was very important for America as it created an increase in the trade of goods and gave the economy a big boost.

Inventor Robert Fulton started a new age of navigation when he piloted his North River Steamboat on the Hudson. Later, the boat was to be called the "Clermont".

Railroads were built along the Hudson in the 1850s, which increased the number of tourists in the area greatly. The Hudson River Rail Road was built along the shores of the river, and travelers could see the amazing beauty surrounding the river like never before.

Many artists and writers would try and capture the beauty in their art as well as in poetry and stories. Collectively, they formed the Hudson River School and included artists such as Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, and Frederick Church. These artists created marvelous paintings of the natural beauty surrounding the Hudson, which was then sold in New York art galleries. The first internationally known American author, Washington Irving, drew his inspiration from the Hudson and wrote many stories about the people and the places surrounding the Hudson.

The Tapan Zee Bridge is the longest bridge crossing the Hudson, which links South Nyack and Tarrytown in New York State. Tappan is the name of a Native American tribe that lived near the Hudson while Zee comes from the Dutch word for "wide expanse of water".

People traveling from the state of New Jersey use the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) system, which is a subway-like rail system connecting New Jersey with Manhattan. The PATH system runs beneath the Hudson.

The Lincoln Tunnel is an old tunnel under the Hudson connecting 42nd Street in Manhattan with Weehawken in New Jersey.

West Point is the oldest military academy in the United States that started in 1802 and is situated along the Hudson.

So, how many of these interesting facts did you already know?

Our rivers, lakes, and beaches are beautiful, but are they safe? Every day, the toxic runoff from parking lots, busy roads and quiet subdivisions makes its way into our streams and oceans. Even the oil burning off from cars on the roads gets washed into the groundwater and streams by way of the storm drain every time it rains.

The more houses we build, the more pollution we will add to our environment. Every time we lay down a new parking lot or piece of roadway, there is an impact on our environment.

Planning growth and designing communities are part of the local government's job. If you are curious about what changes are about to happen where you live, start reading the local news sources, and save stories about development. If something concerns you, you can contact your officials to let them know how you feel. At home, there are things you and your family can do to cut back on water pollution in your neighborhood:

  • Don't litter. Trash that is thrown in the streets usually winds up down storm drains.
  • Watch those sprinklers. Place water sprinklers so they water the grass or flowers and not the street or sidewalk. Also, don't water on windy days or in the hottest part of the day so more water will be absorbed by plants and less will be wasted by the wind and the sun.
  • About fertilizers: they are good for the garden, but too much of a good thing can hurt the environment by causing algae bloom. Check with a garden store to find out how much fertilizer your soil needs and consider using organic fertilizers.
  • Compost your grass clippings to make natural fertilizer or leave it on the lawn as a source of nutrients.

Learn more about how to conserve our water in the library and online.

In the Library

Acid Rain by Louise Petheram.
Read how air pollution from cars, trucks, and power plants leads to the formation of strong acids which can harm lakes, fish, trees, and even historic buildings.

Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story by Linda Glaser.
See how you and your family can turn many things you might throw away into compost to help plants grow.

Nobody Particular: One Woman's Fight to Save the Bays by Molly Bang.
Diane Wilson worked a shrimp boat off the coast of Texas and led the fight to stop yet another plastics plant coming in to pollute the bay with more industrial runoff.

Our Endangered Planet. Oceans. by Mary Hoff and Mary M. Rodgers.
Describes concisely the global uses and abuses of the world's oceans and seas.

Water: Our Precious Resource by Roy A. Gallant.
An in-depth look at Earth's waters and mankind's uses of water throughout history which includes ideas about planning better use of this critical resource in the future.

On the Web

Clean Water Program: Just for Kids
Learn about all the ways that our creeks and beaches get polluted. From the City of Oceanside, California.

EO Kids: Fresh Water
The premier issue of EO Kids explores how NASA observes and measures fresh water from space. From NASA's Earth Observatory (EO).

Friends of the Rappahannock
Our Rappahannock River needs all the help it can get. The Friends sponsor activities such as river clean-ups and scenic trips, both by foot and by canoe. Click Events to find out what's going on.

Surf Your Watershed
"Watersheds are those land areas that catch rain or snow and drain to specific marshes, streams, rivers, lakes, or to ground water."
Type in your zip code to get terrific information about what's being done to protect your region.

USGS Water Science School
Useful study materials on the water cycle, groundwater, water quality, surface water, and more.

What's Flushing Into Chesapeake Bay?
Zoom in on a map of the Chesapeake that shows urban, agricultural, forested and wetland areas that affect the health of the Chesapeake Bay. From the National Geographic Society.

Where Does Your Water Shed?
The National Association of Conservation Districts has prepared helpful lesson plans and activities for early and upper elementary students to aid them in learning about what happens to the water they use.

Families who have Central Rappahannock Regional Library cards can use our online databases of magazine articles and reference books for more information. These databases may be especially useful: Kids InfoBits, Gale Student Edition, and Encyclopaedia Britannica Kids.

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