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
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
“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!
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.
- 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
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.”