The sloop Clearwater on the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie. Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit, member- supported corporation whose mission is to preserve and protect the Hudson River. As an organization, Clearwater believes its innovative environmental programs, advocacy and celebrations will continue to inspire and energize the next generation of environmental leaders.
Pete w banjoIn 1966, folk music legend and environmental activist Pete Seeger, in despair over the pollution of his beloved Hudson River, announced plans to “build a boat to save the river.” At the time, the Hudson was rank with raw sewage, toxic chemicals and oil pollution; fish had disappeared over many miles of its length. Seeger believed a majestic replica of the sloops that sailed the Hudson in the 18th and 19th centuries would bring people to the river, where they could experience its beauty and be moved to preserve it.
Inspired by that vision, the 106-feet-long sloop Clearwater was built and launched in 1969. The sloop was among the first vessels in the U.S. to conduct science-based environmental education aboard a sailing ship, virtually creating the template by which such programs are conducted around the world today.
Since the launch of the Clearwater, more than half a million young people and hundreds of thousands of adults have experienced their first real look at an estuary’s ecosystem—fish, invertebrates, water chemistry and ecological principals—aboard the sloop. Clearwater’s environmental education programs now serve more than 15,000 students annually, and the organization also educates over 200 teachers each year through SUNY New Paltz, Pace University and other institutions. Clearwater’s members have helped advocate for the Clean Water Act, the Hudson River Park Act and removal of PCB’s from the Hudson.
Today, Clearwater is partnering with schools and community leaders to raise the bar of environmental education again, realizin