2019 End of Year Summary

Water Ecology & Engineering Field Trips

NYC H2O wrapped up our Fall season of Water Ecology & Engineering Field Trips on December 5th. We provided 60 field trips reaching over 1,590 students

Since starting our program in 2014, NYC H2O has taken over 23,000 students on free outdoor field trips, making a difference in the lives of New York City students who learn about protecting their city’s water ecology and systems at a time of increasing climate change.

​Our STEM education programs provide a scientific and historical understanding of New York City’s water system and infrastructure through field trips designed to meet and exceed New York City and State curricular standards. We engage students of all abilities in grades 2 – 12 by introducing them to inspiring water infrastructure sites, parks and wetlands in the five boroughs:

  • Ridgewood Reservoir (Queens / Brooklyn) 
  • Baisley Pond (Queens)
  • Central Park Reservoir (Manhattan)
  • ​Jerome Park Reservoir (Bronx)
  • Silver Lake (Staten Island)
  • ​High Bridge (Manhattan / Bronx)
  • Lemon Creek (Staten Island)
  • Plumb Beach (Brooklyn)

Most of the students who come on our field trips are from low income Title I & III schools and have limited opportunities to explore urban parks and natural areas; many have never been out of their neighborhood. They experience the beauty of changing foliage and the behavior of migrating birds. They use binoculars, many for the first time, to observe waterfowl that make their homes at reservoirs and wetlands, including hooded mergansers, ruddy ducks and egrets.
They get active by participating in Tree Races where they identify trees, and they learn how to collaborate by engineering a working aqueduct made out of tubing and connectors as part of the “Aqueduct Challenge.” Students learn to read maps and situate their neighborhood in relation to New York’s water bodies and sources. Ultimately, they learn about the nature of their City’s ecosystems, become stakeholders in the quality of the water, and are inspired to grow to be future stewards of the City.
NYC H2O thanks the following City Council Members for their generous support of Water Ecology and Engineering Field Trips: Joe Borelli, Andy King, Margaret Chin, Steven Matteo, Adrienne Adams, and Carlina Rivera. We also thank the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, West Harlem Development Corp and the Fund for the City of New York for their support of our programs and New York City school children. ​Beach Cleanups & Horseshoe Crab Discovery Walks
We held four volunteer beach cleanups this year one at Conference Hall Park in Staten Island on May 4th, one at Lemon Creek, Staten Island on October 5th, and two at Plumb Beach, Brooklyn on May 18th and September 24th . We had nearly 480 volunteers–many of whom were students– remove over 4 tons of trash from these two beautiful shoreline parks and wetlands. All cleanups have a hands-on educational seining activity to teach about the marine life that is protected when we protect their habitat. 

​Beach Cleanups & Horseshoe Crab Discovery Walks
We held four volunteer beach cleanups this year one at Conference Hall Park in Staten Island on May 4th, one at Lemon Creek, Staten Island on October 5th, and two at Plumb Beach, Brooklyn on May 18th and September 24th . We had nearly 480 volunteers–many of whom were students– remove over 4 tons of trash from these two beautiful shoreline parks and wetlands. All cleanups have a hands-on educational seining activity to teach about the marine life that is protected when we protect their habitat. 

We thank all our partners who worked with us on beach cleanups:​

  • City Councilman Alan Maisel
  • ​Natural Resources Protective Association (NRPA)
  • National Park Foundation
  • ​New York Cares
  • IS 7​
  • Engines for Change
  • Grover Cleveland High School
  • NYC Parks
  • ​IS 75 
  • NPS – Gateway National Recreation Area
  • ​IS 34​
  • Hunter College High School
  • Boy and Girl Scouts
  • AMS II High School
  • Staten Island Tech
  • NYU
  • IS 72

  • City Councilman Joe Borelli​
  • ​Partnership for Parks​​
  • Staten Island Tech​ High School
  • ​​St. Joseph’s by-the-Sea High School
  • Stuyvesant High School
  • Scout Troop 37​​
  • Gateway National Recreational Area

Ridgewood Reservoir Stewardship

For the last 4 years, NYC H2O has been leading a coalition of community groups and local residents to protect and preserve the Ridgewood Reservoir.

In January, we received notification from the New State Department of Environmental Conservation that the Ridgewood Reservoir was designated as a Class I freshwater wetland. This effectively protects the Reservoir in perpetuity as a natural treasure. Read more about it here.
We have also been actively engaged in trying to get a bus stop at the Reservoir to increase its accessibility as a green space for poorer, nearby communities that are dependent on the availability of public transportation. And now the timing is perfect because the MTA is redesigning its bus routes in Brooklyn and Queens and is asking for public input.

​In addition to this initiative having support from the local community boards, several elected officials have offered their support as well.
The MTA is still accepting suggestions so please send your request for a bus stop by clicking here.

This year, we also organized volunteer stewardship events to remove invasive knotweed and mugwort, planted milkweed and other wildflowers, and restored a historic walkway on the causeway between the two eastern basins. 

We thank City Council Member Robert Holden, Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, and Patagonia for their generous support of our work at the Reservoir which allowed us to provide 10 free tours of the Reservoir for over 150 community residents. We also thank the New York City Department of Parks for working with us to improve the Reservoir through citizen involvement.

​We also thank the following elected officials who advocated for the Ridgewood Reservoir, amplifying the voices of many diverse community groups to be heard in both Brooklyn and Queens as to the importance of protecting the Reservoir while providing greater access to this ecological and cultural treasure. These include: Congress Members​ ​Nydia​ ​M.​ ​Velázquez​ and Grace Meng; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; Council Members Rafael Espinal, Antonio Reynoso and Robert Holden; Assembly Members Mike Miller, Cathy Nolan, Joe Lenthol, and Andy Hevesi; and State Senators Joe Addabbo, Michael Gianaris, and Julia Salazar.

Teacher Testimonials

Grade 6 Teacher: “Our kids and staff really enjoyed it. We liked that they were able to explore outside and learn about water that they drink. All of the kids loved the ending activity and being able to combine the different parts together.”

Grade 7 Teacher: ”My students’ feedback was extremely positive.  They especially enjoyed the hands-on aqueduct activity and running from tree to tree learning new things about nature. Thanks again for another successful adventure!”

Grade 11-12 Teacher: “Really appreciate your continued support of my classroom, students and school. It’s always fun to have you and your colleagues at NYC H2O in to support our work.”

Grade 4 Teacher: “The trip was awesome! Everybody had a great time, and learned a ton. We have been talking about NYC’s water system, but the hands-on experience was really great for the kids.”

College Professor: “The students benefited tremendously from your wealth of knowledge and the activity was engaging. It was clear that they enjoyed their time spent at Baisley Park Pond. ”

Thank You for Your Support
Thank you again to all our sponsors and to all who support our work through donating, volunteering, and participating in NYC H2O programs such as kayaking, biking, and walking tours, or attending our teacher education programs.

​Support NYC H2O

Your donation directly supports our free outdoor educational field trips for underserved school children (enrolled in Title I and III schools) in all five boroughs. We’ve been awarded a Platinum rating, GuideStar’s highest level of transparency. Please consider donating here to support our students in learning about the critical importance and beauty of New York City’s water through hands-on science learning.

Members are a critical part of our NYC H2O team: learn how you can make a difference by becoming a member here. At NYC H2O events, members are invited to meet with our speakers at pre-event gatherings and network with other members who care about shaping the future of New York City and educating its youngest generation. Members receive NYC H2O merchandise and other benefits such as event and walking tour discounts.

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