BEACON, NY – With $70,000.00 in recently awarded grants from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program; The Birches Foundation; and the Malcom Gordon Charitable Trust, Clearwater is launching a new Hudson River-based Climate Change Curriculum next month.

A group of schoolchildren and educators pointing upwards while seated on the port deck of the sailboat Hudson River Sloop Clearwater on a sunny day.

Students on an educational sail. Photo courtesy of Alon Koppel

This project is designed to take place over two years with a proposed start date of February 2019.  By January 2021, Clearwater anticipates creating a population of 450 students and 100 teachers in Newburgh and Kingston who are informed, active, engaged environmental stewards.  Clearwater will deliver a combination of 18 in-class workshops, shoreline and dockside programs for students and expect that, in the short term, students will increase their understanding of:

  • How their community is impacted by climate change through personal observations and data collection;
  • Key climate science concepts such as the greenhouse effect, uncertainty in climate science predictions, extreme storms and water level rise, local                               ecological and economic impacts, and climate sensitive species and habitats in the Hudson River and tributaries;
  • Local climate resiliency actions recommended or adopted for their cities; and
  • Ways they can personally help mitigate climate change hazards.

The long-term goals of Clearwater’s Climate Change Curriculum are to create an informed citizenry among students and teachers in Hudson River communities who understand the hazards they face due to climate change.  This curriculum will benefit dozens of communities, hundreds of teachers, and thousands of students beyond the project period given its adaptability to different communities and the ability to update the climate science.

“Clearwater is taking a lead on Climate Solutions education in the Hudson Valley” said Maija Niemisto, Education Director at Clearwater. “We would like young people to understand what individuals and coastal communities are doing to prepare for climate change. Teachers and students will gain valuable insight into local actions taking place to adapt to the changing urban and rural environment.”

The curriculum will also include an online toolkit, and deliver pilot programs in Newburgh and Kingston that enable 900 students and 100 teachers to understand risks they face due to climate change and comprehend the actions their communities are taking.   Newburgh has a Climate Resiliency Plan and Kingston has a Climate Action Plan to ensure community resiliency, but neither school district has any climate change education programs for students.  The proposed curriculum will incorporate the cities’ plans and use it as a tool for educating students and teachers.  The project will result in an adaptable curriculum module that can be used in communities throughout the Hudson Valley for years to come.

The project will be co-led by Maija Niemisto, Clearwater’s Education Director and Eli Schloss, Clearwater’s Tideline Program Director.  Both Kingston and Newburgh have provided written commitments to the project.

Clearwater has been inspiring, educating, and activating millions of people for nearly 50 years. The sloop Clearwater functions as a floating classroom, traveling from city to city, promoting and creating access to waterfronts, historic sites, and protected lands as well as to the Hudson River itself.  Education programs reach 15,000 children and adults annually.

This curriculum will build on Clearwater’s existing climate change learning station, which is part of The Sailing Classroom, the centerpiece of Clearwater’s education program.  The Sailing Classroom is funded in part by the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation.

For more information on the Climate Change Curriculum, contact Maija Niemisto at


Download a PDF of this press release here.