ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Protecting the environment was on the mind at the 20th annual Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor Event.

An estimated 1,500 students lined up and down the Hudson River on Thursday to learn about the unique habitats on the Hudson and how to protect them. Students were able to get hands-on experience collecting and analyzing scientific data alongside the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“The Hudson River is an incredible gem,” NYSDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “It’s not only important recreationally, but from a habitat perspective, it is the backbone of this region’s habitat.”

“It’s really important because we are the next generation,” Averill Park student Mason Dale said. “If we don’t know, then the Hudson River will be neglected and go to waste.”

The DEC also announced $1.4 million in grants that will be going into the Environmental Protection Fund. The money will be used to protect communities along the Hudson from future flooding and fund more education projects like Day in the Life of the Hudson.