School Programs


For details and useful links, click on a program button


The Catskills: A Sense of Place

a program of the Catskill Center for Conservation & Development,
Contact 845-586-2611 or
WEBSITE – The Catskills: A Sense of Place

A series of curriculum modules helps teachers enliven and enrich their lessons and instill a sense of Catskills pride in their students through lessons and hands-on activities that address NYS Learning Standards. The lessons are designed to fit school curricula. The modules span grade levels 3-12, so students can benefit from these engaging, place-based studies over a period of years. The modules include: Water Resources, Geography and Geology, Ecosystems, Human History, Culture & Arts, and Sustainable Catskills.


NYC Department of Environmental Protection Education Resources
WEBSITE – NYC Department of Environmental Protection Education Resources

A wide variety of free education resources are available for New York City and Watershed students, teachers, administrators and parents. Resources include information about the New York City water supply and wastewater treatment systems, water conservation, climate change, water and air quality, sound and noise and other environmental topics.

The DEP also offers field trips, classroom and assembly presentations, publications (such as the NYC edition of the Magic School Bus at the Waterworks and the map, New York City’s Water Story: From Mountain Top to Tap), and online education modules.  Two new curriculum modules are
Green Infrastructure Education
to teach about techniques to manage stormwater runoff and what we can do to help as environmental stewards; and
Cease the Grease,”
to introduce your students to the world beneath their feet and the science, technology, math, and engineering of the New York City sewer system.  Also offered are curriculum and science research project assistance, special events (such as the annual Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest and “City that Drinks the Mountain Sky Part 2” performances), Trout in the Classroom Program, funding opportunities and professional development workshops.


Participatory Music and Story Programs

offered by Ira & “Story” Laurie McIntosh
WEBSITE — Story Laurie

“Groovin’ in the Garden.” This program allows children to sing about, hear and understand the vital connection between food and healthy soil and water. Stories and songs explain plant life cycles, pollination, & the value of local farms and sustainable agriculture; can also include a component on regional geography & waterways. The program features songs written by elementary students in the Catskill Watershed, recordings of which are available for free download at

“Wild About Water” is a fluid musical adventure — an engaging singalong journey into water, a vital matter that none of us can live without. Chock full of toe-tapping tunes, this program provides the perfect way to celebrate any unit on watersheds, water quality or water ecology.  Rollicking good sing-alongs combined with Ira’s infectious style, excellent musicianship & natural ability for teaching without preaching make for a program that is a hit with students and educators alike. Ideal for Trout in the Classroom kick-off or trout release event.

“Catskill Tales & Tunes.” Through traditional and original songs, anecdotes, and local lore, “Catskill Tales & Tunes” focuses on the rich environmental and social history of the Catskills and New York City watershed region, covering major events and everyday life in the old days and in the present. Regional history and traditions come alive in a memorable program that will keep your toes tapping and your smiles smiling!


Arm-of-the-Sea Theater


City That Drinks the Mountain Sky Part II

This extravagant new puppet show combines visual storytelling and live music in a feisty exploration of New York City’s water supply system. Available starting mid-October, 2017. The performance runs 50 minutes and is appropriate for grades K – 10. School performances will include a study guide and post-show discussion.

Audiences will:

  • Encounter engineers grappling with aging infrastructure!
  • Witness the effects of climate change on watershed reservoirs!
  • Catch mountain forests in the act of keeping water clean!
  • Meet watershed stewards of every size and shape!
  • Gain new appreciation for their world-famous drinking water!

The Rejuvenary River Circus

This show tells a story about the life of a river and its watersheds.  The allegory follows Malakai, the River, on his travels between Mountain Peaks and the Deep Blue Sea. Along his journeys Malakai encounters a host of creatures, including a lyrical sea turtle, a fast-talking crow, a pair of industrious beavers, beds of filter-feeding oysters, and schools of migrating fish. Each of the creatures offer insights into their particular role in a watershed’s ecosystem services. When the old man falls ill his granddaughter Rachel must rise to the challenge and help restore her grandfather, the River, back to health.  The performance runs 50 minutes and is appropriate for grades K – 8. School performances include a study guide and post-show discussion.


River of Words, and Naturalist John Burroughs

offered by poet/educator Rich Parisio

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.”


Six Days in Spring with John Burroughs

offered by John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge
WEBSITE — Woodchuck Lodge

This is a short curriculum for secondary students that includes outdoor observation, writing and learning about this famous writer and naturalist. The curriculum is offered by John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge, a non-profit organization which maintains Burroughs’ rustic farmhouse retreat in Roxbury, Delaware County. (See Field Trips)



a program of The Catskill Center for Conservation & Development
Contact 845-586-2611 or
WEBSITE — Streamwatch

The Catskill Center has been providing Stream Watch as an educational program in the Catskill Region for over two decades!  Stream Watch programs can be requested by school districts within the West-of-Hudson Watershed. Learn to make observations about water quality based on physical, chemical, and biological data. The Catskill Center will provide knowledgeable staff, water sampling kits, and all necessary equipment.


Trout in the Classroom

a program of Trout Unlimited
Contact Lilli Genovesi
WEBSITE — Trout in the Classroom

Raise trout from eggs in a classroom aquarium beginning in October and release them as fingerlings into watershed streams in the spring. TIC is a STEM focused, hands-on, environmental education program for students to monitor fish development, study water quality, and learn about watersheds. A high level of commitment is required all year long, from the September tank set-up and October teacher training, through release of trout in April or May. $1,300 purchases a 55-gallon tank and all equipment (chiller, filter, pump, etc.) as well as some educational materials. Year-long support, permits, and lesson plans are available from the NYC and NYC Watersheds Trout in the Classroom Coordinator and the TIC website.


Green Connections

a program offered by the Watershed Agricultural Council with funding provided by USDA Forest Service and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.
Contact Tyler Van Fleet, Watershed Educator,
(914) 962-6355 x21.
WEBSITE — Green Connections

Green Connections is a year-long program available to 4-8th grade teachers who have attended the
Watershed Forestry Institute for Teachers (see Training Opportunities).
The Green Connections program fosters mutual understanding and friendship between students from New York City and the upstate NYC watershed, while inspiring and enabling them to become life-long stewards of forests and water quality. Students from the watershed and NYC become pen-pal buddies for a school year. Buddies exchange letters, learn from a common watershed curricula, do a local stewardship activity, and share hands-on watershed experiences on two joint bus tours—one to NYC, and one to the upstate NYC watershed. For a full program description and participant requirements, read the Green Connections Application document here.

Click here for a host of forestry and water-related teacher resources.


Forest Lessons

offered by The Catskill Forest Association, Inc.
WEBSITE — Catskill Forest Association (See About and Programs)

Custom lessons are available to all school audiences on forestry and forest management topics ranging from tree growth, forest health, tree identification, tree planting, maple sugaring, and timber management to forestry careers and wildlife habitat. Activities are usually done on school grounds, using on-site materials (leaves, seeds, twigs) as available. Indoor lessons are also an option. Costs vary depending upon schedule, travel distance and preparation time. Please call CFA to better tailor a lesson to meet your needs.