The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, working with partners including coLAB arts, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and others, offers fee-based natural science, citizen science, environmental stewardship, science communication and socially-engaged art residencies in area schools. Our programs are all about nature-based experiential education. This means we get students outside and exploring the natural world! All programs are consistent with New Jersey core curriculum requirements, and are grounded in the Science Technology Engineering Arts and Technology (STEAM) educational platform.
High School age students can participate in a sophisticated series of experiences designed to give them a firm knowledge of watershed and environmental science, as well as to help them develop creative tools to articulate and engage in environmental stewardship. High school offerings are integrated with, and support, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Younger students are encouraged to synthesize, practice and develop increasingly complex ideas and skills as they learn and grow through direct engagement with the natural environment. Offerings for lower and middle school students are designed to support core curriculum requirements.
Our residencies typically run for 4-6 weeks, and involve classroom sessions, on-campus landscape exploration and “in-the-field” components. We work with educators to create a residency package of lessons and activities that might include the following:
On Campus Visits (1-2 hours)
-What is a Watershed?
-I Am a Citizen Scientist
-Art in Nature, Nature in Art
-I Am a Civically Engaged Artist
-Environmental Issues Facing the Lower Raritan Watershed
On-Campus Explorations (1-3 hours)
-Natural Flora & Fauna of the School Environment
-Land Contour & Hydrology Studies
-Stormwater Management 101
Campus or Community-Based Service Projects
-Rain Barrel Build
-Rain Garden Design & Build
-Pollinator Garden Design & Build
-Water Quality Monitoring (Visual Habitat Assessment, Macroinvertebrate Assessment, Bacteria Monitoring and/or Microplastics)
Field Excursions (All Day)
-Human Settlement, History & Culture of the Raritan River: Trip on the Rutgers University Raritan River Research Vessel
-Industrial Impacts on the Raritan River: Trip on the Rutgers University Raritan River Research Vessel
-All About Bacteria: Trip to Perth Amboy CSOs for Water Quality Monitoring & visit to Staten Island Lab for Sample Prep & Data Analysis Demo
-Natural History on the Raritan River: Kayaking on the Raritan River
Field and Art Workshops (1/2 Day)
-Stream Site Observations and Water-Quality Monitoring
-Watershed Sculpture and Visual Art Creation
-Innovative Land Management Workshop at Elmwood Cemetery (New Brunswick)
-Conducting an Environmental History
-Oral story-telling techniques
-Watershed Landscape and People of the Watershed Portrait Project
–Greenturgy: representations of the environment in theater
-Creative and fiction writing with landscape restoration in mind
The LRWP’s Environmental Education work speaks to two core goals: 1) fostering environmental appreciation and stewardship by cultivating a “culture” of science among residents of the Lower Raritan Watershed through community participation and collaboration in watershed research activities; and 2) communicating scientific findings about the watershed to residents and established decision-making bodies for informed decision making about policy, land use and landscape change. By working with area students to conduct stream monitoring and landscape assessments, and by working with them to report their findings through a variety of creative means, we improve science communication while cultivating “civic science” activities in the watershed.