CATSKILL MOUNTAIN REGION
Agroforestry Resource Center
Acra, Green County
Contact Elizabeth LoGiudice
WEBSITE: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia-Green Counties
The Agroforestry Resource Center (ARC,) a facility of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia-Greene Counties, provides educational programs, supports research, and promotes collaboration among organizations concerned with sustaining the forest-dominated landscape of the Catskill Mountain/Hudson Valley Region. Adjacent to the ARC is the 142-acre Siuslaw Model Forest illustrating the relationship between sustainable forest stewardship and water quality, as well as a range of demonstrations from American chestnut trees to shiitake mushroom cultivation. The ARC provides programs for youth on environmental topics, including watersheds and woodlands. Bus parking available.
The Ashokan Center is a non-profit outdoor learning center on 385-acres along the Esopus Creek. Ashokan offers a wide variety of one- to five-day programs including watershed studies, aquatic ecology and forest ecology that utilize the Center’s proximity to the Ashokan Reservoir. Students make natural history observations, collect authentic ecological data, write in their journals and discuss the use and conservation of natural resources. Classes for elementary through high school students are aligned to the common core standards.
Catskill Flyfishing Museum
The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to preserving America’s fly-fishing heritage, teaching future generations of flyfishers and protecting the fly-fishing environment. School programs include on-stream insect identification and imitating aquatic insects by fly tying.
Frost Valley YMCA
The Woodruff J. English Environmental Education Center at Frost Valley YMCA offers watershed-related science and ecology courses, historical and cultural programs, interpretive hikes and ropes course and team-building programs. Students learn through direct hands-on and exploratory engagement with the outdoors. Day trips and 2- to 5-day residential experiences are available for K-12 groups. Tours are available of the Frost Valley Model Forest, which teaches about forest management practices and their ecological impact, including effects on water quality.
The Gilboa Museum and Fossils
River of Words is an interdisciplinary program in watershed education for grades K-12. Students investigate their own watersheds by writing site-specific nature poetry which is enriched by their studies of local flora, fauna, geology, and cultural history. Workshops for teachers, and outreach programs for school classes are presented by Rich Parisio a poet and writer with more than 35 years as an environmental educator. Parisio also offers a free illustrated talk for upper elementary, middle school, high school, and adult audiences: “Naturalist John Burroughs: His Life and Work.”
Mountain Top Arboretum
Tannersville, Greene County
Mountain Top Arboretum is a public garden in the Catskill Mountains dedicated to displaying and managing native plant communities of the northeastern US, in addition to curating its collection of cold-hardy native and exotic trees. Its mountain top elevation of 2,400 feet at the top of the New York City Watershed creates a unique environment for education, research and pure enjoyment of the spectacular and historic Catskills landscape. The Arboretum trails and boardwalks connect 178 acres of plant collections, natural meadows, wetlands, forest and Devonian bedrock. A natural stone amphitheater outdoor classroom with seating for 35 is available for programs. Guided tours offered. Limited parking for small busses. Grounds open year-round dawn to dusk; bathroom facilities open May-Oct. Free admission 18 and under.
New York State Fish Hatchery
DeBruce, Sullivan County
Visiting hours for group tours are 8am – 4pm weekdays and 8-noon on weekends. Call at least a week in advance to arrange for a tour. 845-439-4328.
New York City Recreation Areas
This interactive map includes boat launch sites, hiking trails, day use areas and fishing sites on New York City lands and reservoirs in the WOH Watershed. For information on recreational access permits and group passes, go to Recreation on NYCDEP’s website, www.nyc.gov/dep.
a project of the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC)
845-586-1400 ext. 306;
Outdoor exhibits (kiosks) at the City’s six West of Hudson reservoirs contain text and photographs explaining the history of the 25 communities which were removed or relocated to make way for the Ashokan, Neversink, Rondout, Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs, built between 1907 and 1965 (Schoharie Reservoir kiosk unavailable pending completion of dam and tunnel construction project). The exhibits also chart the NYC Water System, one of the world’s engineering marvels, and explain what is being done to protect this critical resource.
Time and the Valleys Museum
332 Main Street, Grahamsville, NY 12740
WEBSITE — Time and the Valleys Museum
The Museum preserves and interprets the history of the Rondout and Neversink watershed areas and the five towns lost to the building of New York City’s water system. The facility has a research center, Museum shop and three exhibitions, including Tunnels, Toil and Trouble: New York City’s Quest for Water and the Rondout-Neversink Story. The Museum provides educational programming on the Catskill and Delaware watersheds and New York City’s water supply system – how it was built and how it impacted the people and the environment, both then and now. Group tours of the exhibitions, with stories and hands-on activities. Materials to prepare students and follow-up activities are also provided.
Roxbury, Delaware County
Bill Birns, 845-254-6025
WEBSITE — Woodchuck Lodge
This historic site was the summer home of naturalist and writer John Burroughs from 1910-20. Burroughs, who grew up on a nearby farm, perfected the nature essay as a literary form. The Lodge is open for tours upon request, and can be coupled with a walk to Burroughs’ gravesite, located in a state-owned preserve adjacent to the Lodge, a perfect place to contemplate and write about nature.
NEW YORK CITY
A finding aid to help you locate NYC field trip destinations
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street, Manhattan
WEBSITE — American Museum of Natural History
Permanent and changing exhibitions on biodiversity and nature including several exhibitions devoted the world’s water resources.
Blue Heron Park
Annandale, Staten Island
WEBSITE — Blue Heron Park
Administered by the Urban Park Rangers, Blue Heron Nature Center offers environmental enrichment education by community based educators who bring students to ponds and woodlands, relating the natural world to specialized classroom lessons.
Bronx Children’s Museum
WEBSITE — Bronx Children’s Museum
Early childhood exhibit called Rivers On the Go!, a hands-on multisensory re-creation of the Bronx and the Harlem River habitats, is located in the Museum On the Go Bus. Programs also feature the High Bridge, New York City’s oldest bridge which carried the Old Croton Aqueduct from the Croton Reservoir across the Bronx River to Manhattan.
2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx
WEBSITE — Bronx Zoo,
Headquarters of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the zoo offers professional development opportunities for teachers and educational programs and materials for students. Be sure to take the River Walk to learn about the Bronx River.
Central Park Reservoir
Visit the Central Park Reservoir (also known as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir) to learn about the history of the NYC water supply system. View exhibits at the Dana Discovery Center and explore the many water bodies found throughout the park. Contact the New York City Urban Park Rangers or New York City Department of Environmental Protection for education resources.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Tisch Building
212 West 83rd Street, NY 10024
WEBSITE — Children’s Museum of Manhattan
“From Trees to Tap” is a guided group visit for grades 6-8 in the Museum’s Dynamic H2O exhibit learning space. Students follow the journey of NYC’s water, from our skies, to rivers and lakes through the Catskills, and finally to our homes. Along the way students will learn fun facts about the unique properties of water, why water is essential to all living things, and why NYC has some of the best drinking water in the nation.
spanning the Harlem River and connecting Manhattan and the Bronx
WEBSITE — High Bridge
Take a walk on the restored High Bridge, New York City’s oldest bridge and engineering marvel. Completed in 1848, the High Bridge carried Croton water across the Harlem River from the Croton Reservoir to Manhattan, through the Old Croton Aqueduct in pipes still beneath its deck. For education resources, contact email@example.com.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Floyd Bennett Field, Broad Channel, Queens
WEBSITE — Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
These units of Gateway National Recreation Area are run by the National Parks Service. Ponds, trails, visitor centers, and environmental education programs are available to school groups. For field trip options, call 718-338-3338 ext. 274.
Museum of the City of New York
1220 5th Avenue at 103rd Street
Three exhibition galleries cover Port City (1609-1898), World City (1898-2012) and Future City. Interactive video installations, images and key objects (including a section of wooden pipe from the city’s original water system) explain immigration, fiscal crises, social movements, infrastructure development and other urban issues. Contact Franny Kent, Director, Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center, fKent@mcny.org
New York Hall of Science
47-01 11th Street, Corona
WEBSITE — New York Hall of Science
“Connected Worlds” immerses visitors in a fantastical universe where they can affect the health of six distinct biomes through gestures, movements, and decisions they make about the balance of the overall environment. All of the biomes share a common resource: water, which flows across the interactive floor from a waterfall, the exhibition’s centerpiece. The experience affords the opportunity for teachers to help their students understand how systems thinking relates to understanding sustainability and make analogies to better grasp how the complexity of our own world functions.
New-York Historical Society
Interactive field trips for grades K-12. Through examination of objects, artwork, images, maps and documents in the museum galleries, students deepen their understanding of New York’s and America’s past. Be sure to look for original wooden water pipes located throughout the museum.
Old Croton Aqueduct State Park
Scroll down to East of Hudson Field Trips
The Waterways Workshop for 3rd through 6th grade school groups takes place at the 540-square-foot restored Relief Map of the New York City Water Supply System, built in 1939 for the NY World’s Fair. Students explore the factors that impact water consumption, transportation and purification of NYC water, and, by visiting the adjacent Panorama of the City of New York, investigate the connection between the growth of a city and the development of a plentiful supply of clean water.
Visitor Center at Newtown Creek
WEBSITE — Visitor Center at Newtown Creek
Located at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Visitor Center serves as a destination for young people and adults to learn about New York City’s water resources. On the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, visitors view wastewater treatment processes while exploring the historic and present day uses of the creek. A scavenger hunt book helps you find the hidden artistic elements embedded in the .5 mile roundtrip creek walk that also provides insight into how native trees, shrubs and grasses were used by Native Americans and early settlers. To schedule a class visit: firstname.lastname@example.org
Green Chimneys Clearpool Campus
Kent, Putnam County
WEBSITE — Green Chimneys
Located in the Croton watershed, this outdoor environmental education center is home to one of the Watershed Agricultural Council’s (WAC) Model Forests that demonstrates sustainable forest management. The campus hosts school groups and offers programs in watershed studies, stream and wetland ecology, team building, wastewater treatment plant tours, and more. WAC funds field trips here through its Watershed Forestry Bus Tour program.
Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center
Yorktown, Westchester County
WEBSITE — Hilltop Hanover Farm
Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center is a working crop farm and environmental education facility located in Yorktown Heights. Formerly a dairy farm, and with roots dating back to the 1600s, today the farm features demonstration models for backyard farming, animal management, rainwater harvesting, organic composting, and green-roof technology. Hilltop Hanover holds classes, lectures, guided tours and field trips for youth and adult groups. The Watershed Agricultural Council funds field trips here to conduct Trees for Tribs tree planting projects through its Watershed Forestry Bus Tour program.
Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park
WEBSITE — Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park
26.2 miles of the 41-mile underground aqueduct that carried water from the original Croton Reservoir to New York City is now a linear park which runs from Van Cortlandt Park at the Bronx County/City of Yonkers border to the new Croton Dam in Cortlandt, Westchester County. The scenic path over the underground aqueduct winds through urban centers and small communities. See weir chambers and ventilators along the route. A replica of the aqueduct is on display at the Ossining Urban Cultural Park Visitors Center. A restored Keepers House in Dobb’s Ferry, operated by Friends of Old Croton Aqueduct, offers tours, programs and exhibits on aqueduct history. http://aqueduct.org/
Exhibits on the history of the Town of Southeast, which has four NYC reservoirs (Croton Water System) within its boundaries.
Taconic Outdoor Education Center
Located within Fahnestock State Park, this environmental education center hosts youth and adult groups for day and overnight trips throughout the year. TOEC is one of the destinations for the NYC-DEP’s Operation Explore program and the Watershed Agricultural Council funds field trips here through its Watershed Forestry Bus Tour program.
Teatown Lake Reservation
Ossining, Westchester County
Education Director: 914-762-2912 x135
WEBSITE — Teatown / School Field Trips
Teatown Lake Reservation is a nonprofit environmental organization with a 1,000-acre nature preserve and education center. Teatown offers programs for school groups, scouts, children, teens, families and adults, including the Watershed Education Program whose goal is teaching the importance of watershed conservation for the sake of biodiversity, ecosystems and people. Watershed Education is an interdisciplinary program geared toward 3rd through 12th grades that can be incorporated into many curricula: math, biology, chemistry, ecology, physics, writing, social studies and current events.
Westchester County Parks
Permits required for bus access. Consult the website for details on the following parks:
Croton Gorge Park, Cortlandt is a 97-acre property at the base of the 200-foot high New Croton Dam, completed in 1907 to provide water to NYC. The park affords impressive views of the dam and spillway and is a popular spot for fishing, picnicking and hiking, with direct trail access to Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Trail.
Cranberry Lake Preserve, North White Plains, includes a museum and history trail in a former quarry detailing the building of the Kensico Reservoir. (Cranberry Lake Preserve)
Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla, is located at the base of the dam which impounds the Bronx River to create the Kensico Reservoir, a critical part of the NYC drinking water supply system. The dam was completed in 1915, is 300 feet high and 1,830 feet long. Interpretive signage at the base of the dam offers historical information. The park provides a unique setting for cultural celebrations and has areas for picnicking, walking and nature study.
Muscoot Farm, Yorktown, located next to the Muscoot Reservoir, is a 777-acre park that includes trails, gardens, exhibits and an active farm and offers tours and hayrides. Muscoot Farm retains many of its original buildings, some of which were moved to accommodate the Muscoot Reservoir.
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Cross River, is a 4,315-acre park with varied terrain and landscapes and miles of wooded trails. Many Trout in the Classroom participants take field trips here to release their trout into the Cross River that flows directly into the nearby Cross River Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to NYC. On these field trips, DEP staff and partners lead forest hikes along the river to highlight the connection between trees, clean water, and healthy trout habitat. The Watershed Agricultural Council also funds field trips here through its Watershed Forestry Bus Tour program.