COVID-19 UPDATE: We have developed a COVID safety plan that complies with NY State policies for public programs, and will continue to update our program parameters as NY State policies change. 

We are also continuing to offer virtual field trips from the sloop Clearwater and the shores of the Hudson River – see our Clearwater Connects page for more information.

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.

Great Seining Picture

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 link to our Powerpoint slide show “Discover the Hudson,” which will help prepare your students 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.

Our entire program is linked to NYS Learning Standards and integrates typical curriculum major understandings in science and social studies, which are reflected in our Scope and Sequence document.

Go to the online application

Learning Stations

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 learning stations. These stations are used on every field trip program.

SeiningEach 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.

Tideline1Aquatic 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– The tides and currents wash up all sorts of surprises onto our shoreline. This station gives students the opportunity to direct the learning, by finding interesting items along the beach. Many different subjects come up- human uses of the river, pollution issues, invasive species, history, and even pre-history. 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.

Tideline3Navigation (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.

Tideline4Water 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.

seining2Hudson 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.

Program Fees

Fees for the Tideline program are based upon the number of children participating per program and program location; larger classes require more educators, increasing the cost of the trip. We try to keep the smaller “station” groups between 10 and 12 students. Please reach out to Tideline Program Director, Eli Schloss at to learn more about program rates.

Our program is eligible for state aid reimbursement through BOCES. For more information on this program fee discount please visit the website: 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.

Go to the online application

Tideline 5