Climate Change at Clearwater

Climate change is the defining environmental challenge of our lifetime. We have put together resources to help educators and students learn about climate change impacts on the Hudson River, as well as how we can all be a part of climate solutions. On this page, you will find:

  • An interactive map where you can virtually sail down the Hudson River on the Clearwater to learn about climate change
  • Climate change lesson plans and accompanying slides
  • External climate change resources

Climate Change Virtual Sail Down the River

The sloop Clearwater has sailed the Hudson River for over 50 years. In that time, the boat has seen the river change from a body of water filled with sewage and chemicals, to a place that people can now enjoy. Due to climate change, the river is now changing in new ways.

In this virtual sail, you are the Captain of the Clearwater! Can you navigate the boat from up near Albany down to New York City? Along the way, you will learn how climate change is impacting the river and its communities. You will also get to explore many solutions and ways to fight climate change.

Your first dock is Rensselaer. Click on the symbol to find out more about this dock and continue your journey down the estuary.

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Follow Up

Now that you’ve sailed the entire Hudson River Estuary, go back and see how many climate change solutions you can find in this journey. Can you name 3? Which climate solutions can you begin right now? How about your community—are they ready to adapt to our changing planet?

Be sure to check out the work that our Environmental Action team is doing to combat climate change, as well!

Clearwater Resources

Use our NYS standards-aligned lesson plans and accompanying slides with your students to learn about climate change impacts on the Hudson River, as well as how to be a part of climate solutions! You may download them for free here, or have a Clearwater staff member come to your classroom to facilitate these lessons with your students. These lessons can be taught in a stand-alone manner or as a supplement to a Sailing Classroom or Tideline field trip experience! For more information, please email educator@clearwater.org.

Climate Change Resources

Climate Kids Corner (grades K-5) – Brought to you by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, the Climate Kids Corner consists of climate activities designed for younger learners.

Greenhouse Effect (grades 9-12) – Explore the natural greenhouse effect from an environmental chemistry perspective. YouTube video from FuseSchool

NASA Climate Kids (grades 3-8) – NASA Climate Kids is a great introduction to the basics of climate change. Videos, games, activities, and readings explore the distinction between weather and climate, greenhouse gases, how humans contribute to the greenhouse effect, and more.

Our Climate Our Future (grades 3-8) – A project of the Alliance for Climate Education, Our Climate Our Future is a series of videos that educates young people about the science, impacts, and challenges of climate change and empowers them to take action and be a part of the solution. These videos can also be accessed on YouTube.

SubjectToClimate (all grades) – Self-described as “Yelp” for educators, SubjectToClimate has curated climate change lesson plans, activities, labs, videos, and more, for all grade levels and content areas.

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication: For Educators (grades 6-12) – Here, you will find activities for students that incorporate YPCCC tools like their Climate Opinion Maps and 90 second daily radio stories.

Sea Level Rise in the Hudson Estuary– (grades 6-12) Scenic Hudson has developed a sea-level rise mapper that plots various SLR projections. Find out what your shoreline may look like in 100 years.

Weather, Climate, and Climate Change Unit (9-12)- from the Carey Institute, this unit plan has lessons that include using river monitoring systems (HRECOS) to graph changes, readings on local effects of climate change, and inquiry lessons to develop hypotheses on climate change realities

Local initiatives

  • Climate Adaptive Communities– The NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation has resources to help communities adapt to climate change using natural and nature-based solutions
  • Climate Adaptive Design– From the Cornell University Landscape Architecture, the program is a research project that helps communities design climate change resilient waterfronts
  • Trees for Tribs– a DEC program that supplies native plantings to use a “riparian buffer” to mitigate flooding and storm damage
  • Hudson Valley Climate Solutions Network-This page identifies educators, advocates, and strategists that work in our local community to educate and connect to important campaigns to ramp up climate change solutions.
  • Turning the Tables Cookbook – Produced by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, this cookbook offers easy recipes to help you prepare food that is seasonal, fresh, healthy, and delicious!

Global solutions

  • Solutions Journalism– this website aggregates climate change journalism, focused on “teaching collections” that include 5 or more stories, a description, discussion questions and notes.
  • Project Drawdown – Project Drawdown, “the world’s leading source on climate solutions,” has ranked the climate solutions in order of impact, depending on several scenarios. Reducing food waste is one example of a highly ranked step.

Hudson River Estuary Program logo

This project has been funded in part by a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.