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Pioneer Live!  


What is this Page for?

Here at are concepts, perspectives, and activities to enrich the educational experience of the science of New York Harbor, particularly as seen while sailing on schooner Pioneer, or if you can't come along in person, virtual participation over the Web. The basic science can easily be studied, learned, and enjoyed (Science can be FUN!) by doing simple, safe, inexpensive experiments and hands-on activities, using easily obtained materials like water, salt, food coloring, plastic cups, pipe cleaners and thermometers.


Information and Feedback about Pioneer Programs

Here are a few downloadable PDFs listing some Pioneer programs. Please find important information about being prepared for a Pioneer trip. If you've already sailed, click here to fill out a feedback form. Teacher Survey

What is a Salt Wedge?

If you put salt in water, it sinks to the bottom (try it and see!). Salt sinks because it's denser than water. Likewise, water with some salt in it is denser than fresh water. At the mouth of a river, where the river's fresh water meets the salt water of the sea, the denser salt water sinks under the fresh water. If the waters are moving in opposite directions, the lighter fresh water floats as the denser ocean water pushes in along the bottom in a wedge shape, the "salt wedge", as seen in the accompanying picture.

spacersaltwedge cross section

transparent harbor map


What is an Estuary?

To the left is a "map" (what sailors would call a "chart") of New York City and the surrounding area. What does the blue represent? Water! What do the different shades of blue indicate? As in the picture above, darker means saltier. This map illustrates the most important single defining feature of an estuary—fresh water meets salt water, with mixing, and layering—all sorts of complicated interaction, like the Salt Wedge that gives this site its name.



Send email with comments, suggestions, or questions to, or fill in the evaluations on various pages on this site by clicking on the following feedback button. Try it here! Feedback

This Web site is made possible by a generous grant to South Street Seaport Museum from the NY–NJ Harbor Estuary Program!


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