Beacon Institute of Rivers and Estuaries

Beacon Institute of Rivers and Estuaries

Looking Toward a Sustainable Future

Clarkson’s research frequently explores how innovation can fuel sustainability, including preserving natural resources, habitats and human health. Through K-12 and public programming and research, the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries focuses on uncovering solutions that protect and maintain estuaries and freshwater ecosystems in the Hudson Valley and throughout the state of New York.

At the same time, the Beacon campus serves as a hub for our environmental-focused efforts. Programming and events attempt to influence or advance public policy to limit human impact on our world, increase public awareness around these issues and train the next generation of creative- and sustainability-minded STEM professionals.

Water Ecology Center and Visitor Center

Winter Visitor Open Hours:  
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Saturday Sunday
Other times by appointment.
Email Brigette Walsh:
Please call Beacon Campus at (845)838-1600 for assistance.

About Us

The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries is Clarkson’s Hudson Valley campus. Located on Dennings Point in Beacon, NY, the campus’s concept was conceived in 2000, and the site was selected three years later. Today, this state-of-the-art technical facility just north of New York City serves as an introduction to the surrounding park and as a research institute striving to develop more sustainable water solutions that preserve estuaries and other freshwater ecosystems in the state and beyond. This mission is achieved through the efforts of our faculty and staff and K-12 and public programming.


The Beacon Institute aims to draw awareness to issues involving estuaries and freshwater ecosystems through community-focused science, user-inspired research and development and broader education. Collaboration and innovation shape each aspect of our mission.


In thinking about Clarkson’s wider impact, the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries strives to provide inclusive environmental education to the community to increase awareness of freshwater-related sustainability issues and provide a unique discovery-centric environment for students of diverse backgrounds.

Faculty and Staff

Our faculty and staff bring diverse specialties as they engage in groundbreaking interdisciplinary research centered on developing solutions for preserving estuaries and ecosystems that influence the Institute’s K-12 programming.


Programming through the Beacon Institute focuses on transformative experiences that incorporate community engagement, critical thinking and socioemotional learning.

Public and K-12 Programming

Open to the public, hands-on STEAM programming, hiking, exploratory activities and art exhibits open the door to the Hudson River Valley’s ecosystem. Programming is held during the school year and summer months.


Grow as an educator and think about how you can better engage your students while taking in the region’s natural beauty.


The Beacon Institute’s team of researchers, scientists, educators and policy influences takes a data-driven approach to examine the relationship between communities, habitats and ecosystems. These discoveries not only expand what we know about rivers and estuaries but further benefit sustainability, public health and economic development efforts.

High School Environmentalists, Join Us This Summer!

Clarkson’s Summer Program for Early College Science (SPECS) is for students in grades 9-12 interested in environmental science. SPECS students engage in a one-week intensive pursuing ecology fieldwork in the Hudson River watershed and Dennings Point State Park at Clarkson’s Beacon Campus.

July 8-12, 2024
9 AM - 1 PM 
Clarkson's Beacon Campus
Dennings Point Park, Beacon, NY

Register Now

Get to Know the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries

Explore the grounds, facilities and programming available through the Beacon Institute.

Summer Internships at the Beacon Institute

Clarkson offers students the opportunity to intern at the Beacon Institute over the summer months. Get a firsthand perspective of what to expect.

New Developments

The Beacon Institute of Rivers and Estuaries continues to grow, updating our facilities for research and programming purposes.

Beatrice G. Donofrio Complex

The Beacon Institute intends this new world-class facility to advance our research and academic efforts, encourage the next generation of STEM professionals and strengthen Clarkson’s industry and government partnerships.

Energy-Efficient Park Project

This New York Power Authority Energy & Environmental Sustainability Project will expand public access and educational opportunities, including through rehabilitating the Dennings Point Road Bridge and improving the Shoreland Trail.

Our Location

The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries is roughly an hour north of Manhattan on the Hudson River. Learn more about the area, our current facilities and how to get here. Reflecting Clarkson’s overall mission of sustainability, our facilities have been awarded LEED Gold certification.

Dennings Point

Dennings Point is a 64-acre peninsula located along the Hudson River and is part of the Hudson Highlands State Park. Throughout the centuries, this region has been home to prehistoric Native American populations, saw the arrival of Henry Hudson in 1609 and, into the 20th century, served as a location for Dennings Point Brick Works. New York State took control of the land in 1988 to expand the Hudson Highlands State Park system, now a network of parks and trails totaling over 6,000 acres.

Water Ecology Center (WEC)

The heart of the Institute’s waterfront activities, the WEC is part of Hudson Highlands State Park and serves as an entry point to the area’s walking and biking trails and archeological history. Opening its doors in 2008, the facility currently houses Clarkson’s public nature programming, policy events and summer science activities and functions as a visitor center for Dennings Point State Park.

What to Do

In addition to scheduled programming, the park and Hudson River are open for boating, kayaking and hiking. The surrounding region features a mix of urban and suburban development.


Take the Metro-North railroad or drive into the area. Get directions for traveling to the Beacon Institute.

Contact Us

Water Ecology Center

199 Dennings Ave., Beacon, NY

For inquiries about facilities, programming or volunteering, please email Brigette Walsh at

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