School Programs

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


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.

Participatory Music and Story Programs, offered by Ira & Laurie McIntosh845-676-4727

"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. "Wild About Water," a musical complement to any Trout in the Classroom project. Rollicking good sing-alongs, such as "Animals Need Water" and "Save Some Streams for Us, Mister." "Catskill Tales & Tunes," a 45- to 60-minute classroom or school assembly program of songs and stories that focus on the rich environmental and social history of the Catskills and New York City watershed region.


"City That Drinks the Mountain Sky," a production of Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, 845-246-7873,

This lively, large-scale theater production tells the epic story of New York City's water supply system. The show, created in 1999, features hand-painted sets, dozens of mask and puppet characters and wonderful live music. It has received rave reviews at schools and festivals throughout the region. Arm-of-the-Sea Theater has been producing high quality arts-in-education programs for more than 20 years; this is one of their most successful school shows. Study guide and post performance discussion included with each school-day performance. Click
here for Teacher Guide.

River of Words, and Naturalist John Burroughs, offered by poet/educatorRich 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 Woodchuck Lodge, Inc., 845-254-6025.


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 Woodchuck Lodge, a non-profit organization which maintains Burroughs’ rustic farmhouse retreat in Roxbury, Delaware County. (See Field Trips) 


Streamwatch, a program of The Catskill Center for Conservation & Development

Contact 845-586-2611 or


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, 917-832-0857

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.

Forest Lessons, offered by The Catskill Forest Association, Inc. 

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.

Green Connections


The Green Connections Program is an option of the Watershed Agricultural Council’s Watershed Forestry Bus Tour Program with funding provided by USDA Forest Service and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Green Connections is a year-long program available to 4th-8th grade teachers who have attended the Watershed Forestry Institute for Teachers (see Training Opportunities). Green Connections explores the environmental and cultural dimensions of the NYC Watershed by supporting partnerships between upstate and downstate classrooms. Participating teachers teach a 10-lesson curriculum, facilitate 3 rounds of correspondence between student pen pals, and conduct 2 shared bus tours - one to an upstate watershed location and one to NYC. Students learn how their urban and rural homes are connected through water and explore how healthy forests protect water quality.

To apply, visit the Watershed Forestry Bus Tour Program website or contact Tyler Van Fleet, Watershed Educator, at or (914) 962-6355 x21, for more information.  


NYC Department of Environmental Protection Education

A 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, water and air quality, sound and noise and other environmental topics. Field trips, classroom and assembly presentations, publications, online education modules, 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” performances), Trout in the Classroom Program, funding opportunities and professional development workshops emphasize inquiry-based, Common-Core Standards that reflect the needs of different grade levels and student abilities. 
This website is a collaborative project of the Catskill Watershed Corp., NYC Department of Environmental Protection and the Watershed Agricultural Council. Send corrections/additions to
Site design by Kimberlie Ackerley; Last updated November 2013
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