Next Generation

Inspiring, Educating, Activating…

We are inspired by Pete Seeger, who made it Clearwater’s central purpose to create knowledgeable stewards for the Hudson River who will pass on this treasured legacy to their future generations. Utilizing the greatest natural resource in the region – the majestic Hudson River – Clearwater has been the grassroots model for effecting changes to protect our planet. More than ever before, we need to realize a green, sustainable future by investing in our youth and creating the next generation of environmental leaders.

Clearwater’s Young Women at the Helm. Video by Dan Messina and Jodie Childers

Clearwater’s Next Generation Legacy Project Clearwater brings together school age children and young adults from our cities, suburbs and small towns to train and prepare them “to pick up the torch,” as Seeger liked to say, and create the sustainable world, with green jobs, that we all need.

Clearwater provides lifelong learning for all ages and believes that if we want our kids to become environmental leaders, then we have to provide opportunities for them to experience the natural world up-close and first-hand.  There is something about a river and a historical tall ship that sparks imagination and creativity in young people. While sailing the Hudson onboard the sloop Clearwater, kids make the hands-on connection to how our estuary is formed, its history, and the life it gives. There is growth and satisfaction that comes from “pulling together” to raise the sloop’s sails. Clearwater teaches skills important to making kids good community members who appreciate the environment and their role in preserving and protecting it.

Clearwater youth education programs reach over 15,000 people each year. Our Sailing Classroom provides foundational environmental education programs that introduce youth to the Hudson River estuary.  From there, youth can go on to participate in other on board programs such as Internships and Apprenticeships, potentially going on to join the professional crew.

Our multi-day Youth Empowerment Programs, such as Young Women at the Helm, Young Men at the Helm and Youth Internships, provide life-changing experiences. The Next Generation Legacy Project is continuing to grow and offer more programs to build a veritable “pipeline” of green thinkers and future environmental leaders of all ethnicities, economic and cultural backgrounds, and encouraging young people to become environmentally-responsible citizens and to seek leadership roles in our society.

Clearwater is also working with multiple Hudson Valley partners, environmental and community groups through our Green Cities Initiative to ensure that targeted cities and communities, like Peekskill, Newburgh, Beacon, Poughkeepsie, and Kingston will have powerful connections to their waterfronts through environmental education programs that will, in turn, support “green” job development and training programs for young people from the region’s inner cities.

Clearwater’s Next Generation programs — in the schools, on the shoreline, on the boat, and in communities — support learning through the years to promote environmental stewardship for a lifetime. We inspire our youth to continue on to careers in the new green economy and become lifelong members of Clearwater.

Clearwater believes that No Child Left Behind’s emphasis on testing must be balanced with active engagement with the natural world.  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.