A pioneer in environmental education, Clearwater has opened the hearts and minds of over half a million people to the natural treasures and environmental challenges of the Hudson River Valley.
The brainchild of folksinger and river advocate Pete Seeger, the sloop Clearwater is both a vivid reminder of the Hudson’s rich history and a cultural icon for environmental awareness. The replica vessel Clearwater is inspired by the hard-working sloops of the 19th century, depicted in their day by artists of the famed Hudson River School. The amazing Hudson River School landscapes helped America re-frame its perceptions about nature, setting the stage for modern environmental thought.
We use the sloop Clearwater, the schooner Mystic Whaler and the Hudson River as dynamic learning tools. The boat and our crew open the students to the exciting learning opportunities that the Hudson River can provide. Clearwater has helped change perceptions of the river with its interactive education programs that provide hands-on learning to engage students and promote “learning by doing” to reinforce concepts learned in the classroom. Students and educators can chart a course for environmental leadership through Clearwater’s menu of educational experiences, and acquire skills to last a lifetime.
Clearwater’s “spiral curriculum” is a concept that the organization has put into place to create a “Pipeline” or path to building the next generation of environmental leaders. Through participation in Clearwater programs, volunteering, interning, teaching and crewing onboard the sloop, or by joining the Clearwater staff, kids grow an appreciation for the environment and consider careers in the new green economy, and ultimately become lifelong supporting members of Clearwater.
See Clearwater’s Education Program Book for a comprehensive overview of our educational programs.
Clearwater believes that if we want our kids to become environmental leaders, then we have to provide opportunities for them to experience the natural world first-hand. Our philosophy of education supports the model of “No Child Left Inside”- if you connect kids directly to an ecologically and historically important resource, they will become more open and motivated to learn and care about the world that surrounds them. Today’s kids are often too insulated from nature by the electronic devices, text messaging, gaming, and social networking that can saturate their lives.
Noted author Richard Louv (Last Child in the Woods) used the term “nature deficit disorder” to link a host of issues including attention disorders, obesity, and depression to a lack of experience with nature. Clearwater believes that No Child Left Behind’s emphasis on testing must be balanced with active engagement with the natural world.