Clearwater’s shore-side program is conducted at the Esopus Meadows Environmental Center in Ulster Park NY, just south of Kingston. This interdisciplinary program can also be brought to a riverfront location near you.
Explore your river through all the major disciplines, History, Science, Math, ELA, and Music. Our program reaches all learning styles through its hand-on experiential learning. Students will evaluate the health of the river with first-hand interactions with the living environment as they catch, identify, and classify fish and invertebrates. They will predict the future of the river by looking at the historical uses of the river and its role as the birthplace of the environmental movement. Students will connect the ecology, beauty, and environmental challenges of the river to their own lives. They will realize that the river belongs to them.
Each program consists of four learning stations, one elective learning station, an introduction to the local area, lunchtime, music, and moments to reflect on the majesty of our river. You will also receive a CD of the PowerPoint “Discover the Hudson” to prepare for the trip. Programs can be tailored to your curriculum, from watershed issues to team-building. The Esopus Meadows Preserve has an extensive trail system which can also be utilized. See below for a full program description.
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The learning station format allows us to connect with students in small groups where attention is more easily focused. Learning stations provide hands-on, engaging, and fun opportunities for each child to forge his/her own personal connection with the river.
The following are our basic learning stations. These stations are used on every field trip program.
Seining– Each small learning group will get an opportunity to help pull the seine net out of the river and gently retrieve whatever we have caught in the net.
Fish Study– Fish adaptations and senses are examined first hand using an aquarium stocked with the “catch of the day” collected by the children during the seining activity.
Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Study– Explore the wonderful world of a drop of water, and learn about the creatures that form the foundation of the “web of life.”
Beachcombing– Scavenger hunts, mosaics made of beach bits to bring back to the classroom, a driftwood sculpture, and wildlife observations are just a few beachcombing possibilities. The tides and currents wash up all sorts of surprises onto our shoreline. Students explore the waterfront for clues about their past and future.
Elective Learning Stations
The following are elective learning stations we offer to customize your program and better fit your individual curricular needs. When you fill out your scheduling application, be sure to select one elective.
Navigation (K-12, Science/Math) ~ Using Hudson River charts cut into a giant jigsaw puzzle, students piece together a sense of the navigable Hudson and learn how to identify navigational aids and use a hand-held compass.
Rivery Reverie (K-12, ELA) ~ A creative wallow into the murky deep. A guided activity in which students spawn a river poem – with surprising ease…and tidal results.
Music (K-12, Music) ~ Write an environmental parody, learn songs about the natural world, or participate in a traditional sea shanty. Music hath charms to soothe the spirited school student! (Most programs include music in a large group -please let us know what kind of music station you’d like. See above.)
Mechanical Advantage (3-12, Science) ~ This station examines the power of the pulley, and demonstrates the physics of mechanical advantage.
Water Wasting Wingding (3-12, Science/Environmental Ethics) ~ See for yourself how much water you use in one day. After discussing an average family’s daily water usage, two teams form bucket brigades to fill garbage cans with their daily expenditure of water. It’s a race to the finish…now how could you finish with less? (This activity has the potential for getting wet. Be prepared!)
The Un-Nature Trail (K-5, Science) ~ Take a walk in the woods and find what does not belong. Test your memory and observation skills, and begin to see the patterns that do belong in the forest- habitat succession and biodiversity.
Water Chemistry (4-12, Science/Environmental Issues) ~ Water is our most precious resource. Is clear water clean water? Using simple testing equipment, we learn about pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen. How do these factors affect the water quality of the river? When you throw something away, where is away?
Orienteering (4-12, Science/Math/Language Arts) ~ Using mariner’s compasses, clues painted on stationary objects, cooperation and true grit, students will explore Esopus Meadows through an orienteering course. Each coordinate has a clue word that needs to be recorded. At the end of the activity, both teams put their clues together in a language experience that forms a wise environmental quote. An especially good activity for instilling logistical self-reliance and teamwork.
Seining (5-12, Science/Physical Education)~ For kids who can’t get enough! Each group dons waders and takes turns catching fish. (This activity has the potential for getting wet. Be advised! Students must have an extra set of clothes with them!)
Building the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse (4-12, History/Teamwork/ELA)~ One of the first things the kids see when they arrive at their field trip site is the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse. This elective station allows the kids to actually “build” a version of the lighthouse using recycled materials from the Materials Exchange while simultaneously learning tidbits about its construction and history.
Hudson River School Design (K-12, Art) ~ After a brief lesson on Hudson River School Painters, the students will create on-site landscape designs using a variety of mixed media in the style of the Hudson River School.
*We are capable of creating single-discipline thematic programs. Call the Clearwater office and ask for Eli Schloss (845 265 8080 ext. 7106).
A typical program accommodates 20-64 students with five learning stations:
9:30 AM The group arrives and is greeted by the Clearwater leader, who discusses safe behavior and the day’s plans, followed by a song or story.
9:50 AM Students separate into small activity groups and rotate through their five stations.
12:20 PM Lunch break (students are expected to pack their trash back to school).
12:45 PM Finish the stations or, a group game, hike, or other complementary activity.
1:30 PM Review and closing message.
2:00 PM Group departure.
*Note: Tideline Programs do not involve sailing on the sloop Clearwater.Those interested in sail programs should visit the Sailing Classroom page.
Fees for Tideline Discovery Programs are based upon the number of children participating per program; larger classes require more educators, increasing the cost of the trip. The prices listed below are those required to have a group size of 10-12 students per station.
For up to 24 students, the fee is $500
25-36 students, $600
37-48 students, $690
49-64 students, $770
These fees cover the cost of the pre-trip slide show to be viewed at your school and your program at the Esopus Meadows Environmental Center.
Our program is eligible for state aid reimbursement through BOCES. For more information on this program fee discount please visit the website: http://www.pnwboces.org/Environmental/ or contact us at 845 265 8080 ext. 7106.
About Esopus Meadows Preserve
Esopus Meadows Preserve is a Scenic Hudson park located in the village of Ulster Park just south of Kingston, New York. In partnership with Scenic Hudson, Clearwater maintains the park and conducts Clearwater education programs in the 68-acre riverfront preserve. There are 4 hiking trails leading to vernal pools, stands of White Pine, and a waterfront pavilion accessible only by foot or non-motorized watercraft. This area offers a rich natural history; it is a stopover point for migrating waterfowl and ospreys, a winter habitat for bald eagles, and an important spawning ground for many fish. The historic Esopus Meadows Lighthouse is visible offshore.
Please note: Esopus Meadows Preserve is a carry-in/carry-out facility. Please bring a container to remove all your lunch, garbage, etc.