Historic Reservoir School Tour Summary – Spring 2014

Tour guide, Matt Malina leads a 4th grade class tour at Baisley Pond, Queens

This spring H2O began offering guided tours of the city’s historic reservoirs for school groups in all five boroughs of the city; these include the Central Park Reservoir in Manhattan, the Jerome Park Reservoir in the Bronx, the Ridgewood Reservoir in Brooklyn, Baisley Pond in Queens and Silver Lake in Staten Island. In collaboration with local historians and engineers, H2O trained six graduate students and museum educators as tour guides. Between late April and mid-June, our six guides gave twenty-two tours all together, and this is just the beginning!

Our reservoir tours drew a diverse range of students, from all five boroughs, outdoors, and connected them with the city’s infrastructure and nature. Students had lots of questions about the flora and fauna surrounding the reservoirs, the function of a reservoir, and the cleanliness of the water. We engaged students with educational and physical games about water use, engineering an aqueduct, water supply system terms and ideas, and tree identification.

Students were awestruck during their tours. They responded to the scale and beauty of the reservoirs, to sightings of turtles, birds, mushrooms, and many other living things near the water. They enjoyed being outside, running, relaxing, and making observations. Many of the students that come on our tours have very limited opportunities to explore parks and natural settings. Many have never been out of their neighborhood. We are proud to be able to share and educate NYC’s young citizenry about ecology and H2O in New York City parks.

Below are some quotes with feedback from teachers:
We had a blast on our trip, thank you and Daniel so much! We loved the aqueduct challenge at the end of the tour, it really brought things together for the kids. I also loved the idea of having the kids run from tree to tree. Being in an classroom with kids who have special needs, it’s important for them to be able to release their energy in different ways, and this was a great way for them to do that. We really loved everything about the trip and can’t wait to join you again next year!

The kids had a great time. They really enjoyed the racing from one tree to the next and learning something new at each different spot. Obviously, they had a blast building the aqueducts, which not only helped them get a sense of how water travels from the Catskills to NYC, but also promoted teamwork and problem solving. It was a great experience and we would definitely book this trip in the future and recommend to other classes as well. Thanks again:)

I just wanted to let you know how much our class enjoyed our tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir (as did I!). It was wonderful for them to spend some time where there is grass and water and fresh air, and they absolutely loved building their own aqueduct! Thank you for the opportunity for us to learn more about where our water comes from, and for providing us with such an enjoyable and interested trip! I hope to see you all next year 🙂

Ideas and feedback are most welcome as we continue to expand our programming for school groups. We look forward to hosting your class for a reservoir tour in the fall. We will send out an announcement about booking at the end of August. Have a great summer!

Baisley Pond
Central Park Reservoir

Central Park Reservoir – Walking through the cherry blossoms
Jerome Park – Playing the ‘Aqueduct Challenge
Central Park Reservoir – Playing the ‘Aqueduct Challenge