Our Origin Story

The Children Knew

Laurie listened and that evening she called her friend, Hudson Riverkeeper boat captain and Water Quality Program Director, John Lipscomb. 

(Riverkeeper at that time was sampling the water quality all along the Hudson and at the mouth of tributaries, including the Sparkill Creek at the confluence in Piermont Marsh.)

John came out the next day and took the first water sample, with the children present. 

A couple of days later he called and reported in that the sample contained an exceedingly high and concerning measure of enterococcus ( a bacteria that comes from the gut, and maybe evidence of human sewage or animal waste). John recommended to Laurie that she call Margie Turrin at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory who had been studying the life of the Sparkill creek. One call led to another in the community and on Nov. 1st, 2010 the first meeting was called on behalf of the Sparkill creek. 

17 people attended, many of these people are still in the group now. Among those who attended were public officials, and also Larry Vail and Greg Mercurio, who had worked together for  10 years prior  in a  similar effort to protect the creek by forming the Sparkill Creek Conservancy that had disbanded. Larry, Greg and Margie are all now long time members of the group.  

John Lipscomb also attended the first Sparkill meetings and a plan was formed for the group to continue to meet and to form a sampling team along the creek. With the support of Riverkeeper in the Spring of 2011 the monthly sampling began, following winter site selection and  strategy meetings. The Sparkill Creek was the first tributary to be sampled by Riverkeeper in the Hudson River Valley, and this new program became a model for the whole region. Today there are a growing number of RvK sampling teams in the region.  The Sparkill is  now connected with a larger growing watershed community,  as members of the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance routinely meet with other watershed groups, and we present at regional conferences to share and compare the experiences.

The importance of listening in and working friendships is the new found power for change in the Sparkill Creek. Please join us!