Rocking the Boat empowers young people to develop the self-confidence to set ambitious goals and gain the
skills necessary to achieve them. Students work together to build wooden boats, learn to row and sail, and
restore local urban waterways, revitalizing their community while creating better lives for themselves.
By Alissa Hickson
By Edwin LeBron
Before the program, I was always fascinated with
As a student and participant of the environmental
the environment. I loved the deep depths of the
protection program in the Bronx, Rocking the Boat,
ocean, I loved the brilliant blue sky, and I was in
I have become fond of the way our environment
love with the fresh air and vast areas of natural
works and how ecosystems maintain stability.
land. I only had love for nature, but that is about
At Rocking the Boat, not only have I learned to
as far as my fascination would extend. I would
appreciate the environment in which I live, I found a
believe that nature was permanent and nothing
new family- the bonds that are shared in the program
that the human population could do would affect
are amazing. We help each other out when in
that. I believed nature was, is, and will forever
need, we stand together hands joined to help
be beautiful, healthy and everlasting. As I grew
improve our environment and protect it. At Rocking
older my teachers and other adults would explain
the Boat we find our inner skills, whether as a boat
how important it is to "reduce, reuse, recycle", but
builder, a sailor, an environmental protector, or
it became a bore and a bother. My old state of
maybe all three. I feel not only will these skills help
mind contributed to my ignorance since I believed
me become a better person, but they will help me
that was all I could possibly do. Upon joining
become a leader of tomorrow, and help me be
Rocking the Boat, the staff approached the topic
able to change this world for the better.
in a more inclusive way. Instead of focusing
on all the bad things that were happening we
By Jonathan Graciano
engaged in activities that truly opened my eyes
Rocking the Boat is a very special organization
to the way things actually are. Our beautiful
which I feel blessed to be a part of. When I first
bodies of water were becoming polluted and our
joined Rocking the Boat I was eager to row but this
vast areas of land weren't as vast as I thought
program gives me much more than that. I learned
they were. Rocking the Boat provided me with the
many things throughout my experience from being
opportunity to experience firsthand all the negative
a student to being a job skills apprentice. I gained
impacts humans are making that contribute to
knowledge about many different birds and fish in
our environment's bad health. For example, the
and around the Bronx River. I used binoculars to
pathogen monitoring project that was done in the
observe birds like grey and black herons and birds
summer of 2014 helped to open our eyes to all
we had never seen before. We went on one of the
the dumping that is happening in the Bronx River.
sailboats and saw bands of fish jumping out of the
Oysters* help to filter the water and the seaweed*
water and swimming around the boat. I had never
helps to reduce the nitrate levels caused by that
seen anything like that before. The first time I saw
dumping. Helping them grow makes me feel like
an eel, it was awesome. Also I gained information
I'm actually making a difference.
about the river itself. We do a lot of water quality
* Two of Rocking the Boat's environmental projects involve
monitoring. We actually get involved and can see
planting oyster gardens and cultivating seaweed.
the results of the salinity, pH, and turbidity test.
This experience is remarkable.