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Community Outreach


All Hands On Deck: A Harbor Education Program

Ocean shipping, considered the most efficient and environmentally sound method of transportation, coexists in balance with the diverse vibrant ecosystem of the New York/New Jersey Harbor. The Harbor provides natural resources that have given rise to 300 years of economic benefit, quality of life, recreation, transportation and sustenance.

All Hands On Deck, A Harbor Education Program (AHOD) is designed to increase awareness of commerce and the environment by bringing school-age students on an interactive, fully guided tour of the Harbor. In addition to pre-trip classroom materials, AHOD gives teachers the opportunity to directly expose their students to the inner workings of one of the country's greatest seaports. Students will witness the working waterfront firsthand; from gigantic containerships, freighters and tankers, to the mighty tugs that move them about, as well as the gantry cranes and other unusual vehicles that load and unload containerships. If the schedule is right, the students may be able to see a harbor dredge working to maintain or deepen the shipping channels. Rounding the trip out will be a hands-on introduction to some of the biota of the estuary, and a closeup waterside view of Lady Liberty in all her glory.

AHOD's long-term goal is to focus on career development opportunities inherent in the maritime resources of the region, and to ensure sustainable harbor utilization, stewardship, protection, enhancement and restoration long into the future. AHOD frequently features guest speakers who actually help to make the Harbor run. Guests in the past have been from the Port Authority of NY and NJ, the NJ Department of Transportation, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, the NY Shipping Association, the Sandy Hook Pilots, and many others...

Over 400 school children from grades 4 through 9 have participated in our AHOD program each year since 2004.  An annual Professional Development workshop that helps bring maritime education into the classroom is also available for interested educators. A wealth of educational materials have been developed, such as teacher lesson plans and a children's workbook, with more currently in development.   

Starting in 2009 the AHOD program began its expansion to South Jersey to further expand the awareness of the port and waterfront region along the Delaware River.  In spring 2010, hands-on interactive boat tours along the Delaware River for school children in the Camden region will begin.

This innovative maritime and environmental education program is complementary, but space is limited and participation is via application only.

To set sail, AHOD information is available on the New Jersey Marine Science Consortium web site.

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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  April 13, 2010