Field Trips/Environmental/Outdoor

Education Centers

 

Catskill Mountain Region

 

Agroforestry Resource Center,  Acra, Greene County.
518-622-9820, Elizabeth LoGiudice

 

The Agroforestry Resource Center (ARC, a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Greene County, 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 Siuslaw Model Forest illustrating the relationship between sustainable forest stewardship and water quality. The ARC provides programs for youth on environmental topics, including watersheds, and the annual Environmental Awareness Days for Greene County 6th Graders. Bus parking available.

Ashokan Center, Olivebridge, Ulster County

845-657-8333; office@ashokancenter.org.

The Ashokan Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit outdoor learning center on 385-acres along the Esopus Creek in Ulster County. Ashokan offers a wide variety of one- to five-day programs including watershed studies, aquatic ecology, forest ecology, and sense of place curriculum that utilizes the Center's proximity to the Ashokan Reservoir.  Students make natural history observations, collect authentic ecological data, write in their sense of place 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,
Livingston Manor, Sullivan County; 845-439-4810  flyfish@catskill.net.

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.  Educational school programs are available from on stream insect identification to imitating aquatic insects by fly tying.   

Frost Valley YMCA Environmental Education & Conference Center, Claryville, Ulster County,845-985-2291 ext. 219; or enved@frostvalley.org.

The Woodruff J. English Environmental Education Center at Frost Valley YMCA offers watershed-related science and ecology courses, historical and cultural programs, and hikes and team-building programs. Day trips and 2 to 5-day residential experiences are available for K-12 groups. The Frost Valley Model Forest teaches about various forest management practices and their ecological impact, including effects on water quality.  


The Gilboa Museum and Fossils,
Gilboa, Schoharie County

contact Kristen Wyckoff, 607-588-9413.

The Gilboa Museum, one-half mile from NYS Route 30, has some of the world’s oldest fossilized trees on display, along with a mural depicting Devonian Dawn, and photos and artifacts from the original village of Gilboa before it was condemned to make way for the Schoharie Reservoir, completed in 1925. The museum is open weekends in summer and fall. Group tours are available mid-week, or during winter by appointment (except February-early April). An outdoor fossil exhibit next to the Town Hall not far from the museum has nine large fossilized tree stumps with an information kiosk. A book and video on the Gilboa Fossils are available for sale.


The Mountain Top Arboretum, Tannersville, Greene County
Contact Joan Kutcher, 518.589.3903

 

This 179-acre parcel contains native and exotic trees and shrubs in woodland, open meadow, and wetland settings. 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; bathroom facilities open May-Oct.


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.

Reservoir Kiosks,a project of the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) Contact Diane Galusha, 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, Schoharie, Neversink, Rondout, Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs built between 1907 and 1965. 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. For kiosk locations, go to website above.


Woodchuck Lodge, Roxbury, Delaware County

To arrange for a tour, contact Bill Birns, 845-254-6025.

 

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.

  

Time and the Valleys Museum, Grahamsville, Sullivan County

845 985-7700; info@timeandthevalleysmuseum.org

 

The Museum preserves and interprets the history of the Rondout and Neversink watershed areas and the history of the five towns lost to the building of New York City’s water system. Exhibitions include Tunnels, Toil and Trouble:  New York City’s Quest for Waterand the Rondout-Neversink Story, a fun and interactive exhibition for visitors of all ages. The Museum provides educational programming throughout the year for students and adults 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. The program includes a tour of the exhibitions, stories and hands-on activities such as building tunnels, covering dams and completing puzzles. Materials to prepare students and follow-up activities are also provided.

 

New York City

 

American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West @ 79th Street, Manhattan

Permanent and changing exhibitions on biodiversity and nature including several exhibitions devoted the world’s water resources.

 

Blue Heron Park, Annandale, Staten Island, 718-967-5815

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, 347-971-2155

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.

 

Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, (718) 367-1010

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.

 

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 990 Washington Ave, New York, 718-623-7200

The Botanic Garden offers a children’s garden, summer science, school programs, Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program (BCAP) Summer Camp, student internships, and projects to do at home. They also offer a special “Water in Nature and Our Lives” workshop.

 

Central Park Reservoir, Manhattan

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.   

The High Bridge, spanning Manhattan and the Bronx

Take a walk on the recently restored and reopened 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 educationoffice@dep.nyc.gov.

 

 

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge/Floyd Bennett Field, Broad Channel, Queens

These units of Gateway National Recreation Areas are run by the National Parks Service. Ponds, trails, visitor centers, and environmental education programs are available to school groups.

 

Newtown Creek Nature Walk, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

View wastewater treatment processes while exploring the historic and present day uses of Newtown Creek.  This scavenger hunt book will help you find the hidden artistic elements embedded in the .5 mile roundtrip creek walk that also provides insight into how our native trees, shrubs and grasses were used by Native Americans and early settlers.

New York Hall of Science, 47-01 11th Street, Corona (781) 699-0005

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. Visit the Connected Worlds exhibition at http://nysci.org/connected-worlds/

 

New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, 212-873-3400

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.

 

Queens Museum , Flushing Meadows, Corona Park

Schedule a visit to view the Panorama of the City of New York and the 540-square-foot restored Relief Map of the New York City Water Supply System to explore the connection between the growth of a city and the development of a plentiful supply of clean water. 

 

Visitor Center at Newtown Creek

Located at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the Visitor Center serves as a destination for young people and adults to learn about New York City’s water resources. For information and to schedule a class visit, please email educationoffice@dep.nyc.gov

  

East-of-Hudson Watershed

 

Green Chimneys  Clearpool Campus

 

Located in the Croton watershed region in Kent, NY, this outdoor environmental education center is home to one of the Watershed Agricultural Council’s (WAC) Model Forests that demonstrates sustainable forest management activities. The Green Chimneys Clearpool 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.

Visit the Green Chimneys Clearpool Campus website or call (845) 225-8226 for more information.

Old Croton Aqueduct State Park, 914-693-5259

 

This is a 26-mile linear park along the route of the 1842 underground aqueduct which carried water from Westchester County to Manhattan. The trail runs from Van Cortlandt Park at the Bronx County/City of Yonkers border to the Croton Dam in Cortlandt. Historic Keepers House under restoration. See more at Friends of Old Croton Aqueduct

 

Cranberry Lake Preserve, 1609 Old Church Street, North White Plains, 914-428-1005

 

Administered by Westchester County Parks Dept., the Preserve includes a Museum and History trail in a former quarry detailing the building of the Kensico Reservoir.

 

Southeast Museum, 67 Main Street, Brewster; 845-279-7500; info@southeastmuseum.org

 

Exhibits on the history of the Putnam County Town of Southeast, which has four NYC reservoirs (Croton Water System) within its boundaries.

 

Teatown Lake Reservation

 

Teatown Lake Reservation is a nonprofit environmental organization with a 1,000-acre nature preserve and education center located in the Lower Hudson Valley. Teatown offers a variety of 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.   The Watershed Education Program correlates with New York State standards and can be tailored to meet the needs of your own specific program of study. Visit www.teatown.org, or contact the Watershed Education Coordinator at 914-762-2912 x135.

Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center is a working crop farm and environmental education facility located in Yorktown Heights, NY. Formerly a dairy farm, and with roots dating back to the 1600’s, today the farm features demonstration models for backyard farming, animal management, rainwater harvesting, organic composting, and green-roof technology. Visitors may hike the farm’s 3.5 miles of woodland trails, enjoy a picnic overlooking the property, and visit our chickens and cows. Hilltop Hanover holds numerous classes and lectures, offers seasonal CSA shares, and maintains a farm stand and U-Pick program during the growing season. Hilltop Hanover Farm also offers guided tours, classes, 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.

Visit the Hilltop Hanover Farm website or call (914) 962-2368 for more information.

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is a 4,315-acre park in Westchester County. With its varied terrain and landscapes and miles of wooded trails, the park provides a variety of activities in all seasons. There are areas for picnicking, lean-to camping, fishing and cross-country skiing. 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 funds field trips here through its Watershed Forestry Bus Tour program. Visit the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and Trout in the Classroom websites for more information.

Taconic Outdoor Education Center

Located within Fahnestock State Park in the Hudson River Valley, this outdoor environmental education center hosts youth and adult groups for day and overnight trips throughout the year.  TOEC supports a variety of year-round day and overnight educational, team building and business programs that include discovering wildlife and aquatic ecology on Duck Pond, cross country skiing, canoeing and learning first-hand how maple syrup is made at Hudson Valley Maple Farm.  TOEC is one of the destinations for the NYC-DEP’s Operation Explore program and the Watershed Agricultural Council funds field trips here through itsWatershed Forestry Bus Tour program. Visit the Taconic Outdoor Education Center website or call (845) 265-3773 for more information.

Muscoot Farm

Located next to the Muscoot Reservoir in Yorktown, NY, the Muscoot Farm was originally a "Gentleman's Farm" founded by Ferdinand T. Hopkins in 1880. It operated as a dairy farm until Westchester County acquired the property in the late 1960s. Today, Muscoot Farm is a 777-acre Westchester County Park that strives to preserve and interpret its agrarian past. Visitors may stroll through the original barns, visit with the animals, participate in educational programs or hike the many miles of trails. Visit the Muscoot Farm website for more information.

Kensico Dam Plaza

Kensico Dam Plaza is a Westchester County park located at the base of the dam which impounds 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. It was acquired as parkland in 1963 from the NYC Watershed Commission and remains the property of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation. 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, in-line skating, walking and nature study. Visit the Kensico Dam Plaza website for more information.

Croton Gorge Park

Croton Gorge Park is a 97-acre property at the base of the Croton Dam and affords impressive views of the dam and spillway. The park is a popular spot for fishing, picnicking and hiking, and is the starting point for New York State’s Old Croton Aqueduct linear park. The Croton River also begins here. The bridge that spans the Croton River and affords the best view of the spectacular spillway is open to the public. The former, Old Croton Dam, built to supply New York City with water, was the first large masonry dam in the United States. Completed in 1842, it was the prototype for many municipal water supply dams in the east during the mid-19th century. The city’s needs, however, soon outgrew the Croton Dam water supply. Consequently, work began on the New Croton Dam, which was completed in 1907 and stands over 200 feet high. The Croton Reservoir has a capacity of about 34 billion gallons of water with a watershed covering 177 square miles.Visit the Croton Gorge Park website for more information.

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 galusha@cwconline.org.
Site design by Kimberlie Ackerley; Last updated November 2013
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