For nearly 30 years, the Randall’s Island Park Alliance (RIPA) has worked to restore, maintain and develop programming along the Randall’s Island waterfront. The Park’s 20 acres of restored natural areas, ten acres of wetlands and nearly five miles of scenic waterfront offer a unique opportunity for families, community organizations and school groups to explore and learn from the natural world.
RIPA’s Waterfront Stewardship Program was created to utilize this unique resource for local engagement and environmental education. RIPA’s experienced educators guide RIPA in providing extensive volunteer opportunities, public events, guided tours, research partnerships and educational programming for local public schools – enabling RIPA to responsibly care for the Island’s shoreline while forming robust relationships with a range of local stewards.
The Waterfront Stewardship Program offers free hands-on STEM education to students in partnership with local schools, prioritizing public schools in neighboring East Harlem and the South Bronx areas. We offer all our courses to engage students at an appropriate level between Pre-K through 12th grade with our fully aligned curriculum.
New York City and Randall’s Island are home to many different types of wetlands. Wild Wetlands explores the critical role wetlands play in the environment, including improving water quality, providing habitat for plants and animals, and protecting our communities from climate change. Students will get an up-close and personal look at the wetlands (your choice of Salt Marsh or Freshwater), plants, and animals found on Randall’s Island while exploring the critical roles wetlands play for people and our environment.
The Secret Life of Insects
Insects are essential organisms in our environment. They pollinate plants and provide a vital link in the food web. This course explores the crucial role of insects in ecosystems by covering their life cycles and body parts. Students will participate in an up-close and personal exploration of the different types of insects found on Randall’s Island, learning about their biology, ecology, and conservation efforts to save them.
Plants are the backbone of all life on Earth and an essential part of our daily lives. They provide us with food and medicine, purify our water, clean our air, reduce greenhouse gases, and provide habitat. Students will get an up-close and personal look at the various plants found on Randall’s Island, learning about their life cycles, anatomy, and ecological roles.
They fly, they dive, they swim, and they sing! Birds are abundant at Randall’s Island all year long. Despite being located in one of the world’s largest cities, Randall’s Island Park is home to various species of waterfowl, songbirds, raptors, and wading birds. Check the wetlands for herons, egrets, and ducks. Look over Icahn Stadium for soaring hawks. Search the freshwater wetland for migratory warblers and sparrows in the fall and spring. Learn all about bird anatomy, their adaptations to survival, and their unique life histories. Students will learn how to use binoculars and scopes to view birds in their natural habitat.
Water is What Matters
Water connects us all. Water is constantly moving in, around, and through the Earth in various forms. It’s found in our oceans, rivers, lakes, and ponds, falling from the sky as raindrops or snow, and flowing out of our faucets in our kitchen sink. People and wildlife all over the planet require clean water to live and thrive. Unfortunately, human activities related to different land uses and land management have severely deteriorated water quality over the last century. But where does water come from? Where is it going? What is a watershed? Are our NYC waterways clean and healthy, including the Harlem River, East River, and Long Island Sound? Through in-class and field activities, we will answer these and other questions in this course.
Is there another topic you would love our team to teach your class? Let us know how we can help! Our environmental educators are happy to develop unique programs for your students, to address essential topics you are discussing in your classroom. Let us know if you would like a custom virtual experience on any number of themes, including climate change, the New York harbor and estuary, watersheds, weather, soils, wildlife, ecology, and engineering. Our custom virtual experience can directly bring a whole world of STEM topics to your students.