2019 Spring Summary

Water Ecology & Engineering Field Trips

NYC H2O wrapped up our Spring season of Water Ecology & Engineering Field Trips on June 20. We provided 73 field trips reaching over 2,500 students.

Since starting our program in 2014, NYC H2O has taken over 20,000 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, Carlina Rivera, Mark Levine and Ydanis Rodriguez. We also thank Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.
​Beach Cleanups & Horseshoe Crab Discovery Walks
We held two volunteer beach cleanups this fall, one at Conference House Park, Staten Island on May 4th, and one at Plumb Beach, Brooklyn on May 18th. We had nearly 250 volunteers–many of whom were students– remove over 3 tons of trash from these 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 held 2 horseshoe crab discovery walks at Plumb Beach reaching a total of over 180 people, on May 25 and June 4 (for teachers).

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​
  • Grover Cleveland High School
  • NYC Parks
  • ​IS 75 
  • NPS – Gateway National Recreation Area
  • ​IS 34​
  • Hunter College High School
  • Boy and Girl Scouts
  • City Councilman Joe Borelli​
  • ​Partnership for Parks​​
  • IS 75
  • Staten Island Tech​ High School
  • ​​St. Joseph’s by-the-Sea High School
  • Stuyvesant High School

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 spring we organized volunteer stewardship events to remove invasive knotweed and mugwort and planted milkweed and other wildflowers along a path that overlooks the Reservoir.
We thank City Council Member Robert Holden 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 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, and Andy Hevesi; and State Senators Joe Addabbo and Michael Gianaris.
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: “Thank you so much for checking in! 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.”

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.