The USS Requin submarine is a floating museum of World War II era technology along Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. While educating and enchanting hundreds of thousands of visitors about life and science aboard a submarine, the ship often serves to divulge a more sinister story about Pittsburgh’s waterways. The converging currents of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers deposits an array of pollution, litter and debris along the shore, and much of it is funneled next to or against the cobalt hull of the historic vessel.
Carnegie Science Center and First Waves saw this as an opportunity to educate Pittsburgh’s youth about environmental issues facing the watershed. As part of the First Waves Pittsburgh program, youth participants, volunteers, and instructors gathered on Pittsburgh's North Shore to take part in a river cleanup and watershed awareness workshop. The group utilized standup paddleboarding skills they learned in earlier First Waves programs to help clean up difficult-to-reach sections around the Requin and vegetated shoreline.
The group’s efforts not only helped polish the magnificent submarine display, it also educated the group on the consequences of littering and single-use plastics. In addition, students of the program were able to explore Pittsburgh’s rivers from the amazing vantage of standup paddleboards after the difficult work of cleaning up the shores was done.
Bridging the gap between appreciation and care for watersheds is an important concept for Pittsburgh - a city surrounded by rivers. It is particularly important to introduce these concepts to the city’s youth - the future caretakers and leaders of the community. First Waves and its partnership with Carnegie Science Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the East End Food Co-op are committed to achieving this goal.