New York Restoration Project’s (NYRP) expert staff provides education at every touch point—at every tree giveaway, community garden, and volunteer opportunity. We host free workshops that teach New Yorkers about tree care, urban ecology, composting, sustainable horticulture, and native plant identification. Find all of these learning opportunities on our calendar.
Environmental Education for K-8 Students
New York Restoration Project (NYRP) offers free, hands-on environmental education, targeted to kindergarten through eighth grade students enrolled in a New York City Department of Education school, afterschool program, or summer camp. We turn the city’s parks and community gardens into outdoor classrooms through our unique environmental education programs, geared to students in K-8th grade and aligned with NYS core curriculum standards. Learn more and apply today for NYRP Environmental Education programs:
Choose a program below:
Choose from five programs based at Sherman Creek Park, NYRP’s environmental education campus located along the Harlem River in Northern Manhattan. NYRP educators relay the importance of greening our communities and cleaning our waterways through hands-on investigation of the forest, garden, wetland and river ecosystems.
Swindler Cove, Habitat Rove
Visit five different habitats without even leaving the park! In this tour of Swindler Cove, which connects the garden, wetlands, river, pond, and forest, we will use our senses to explore and compare some of the plants and animals that form a community. Students will bear witness to the extraordinary effects of habitat restoration on a once neglected tract of land. Grades K-5; 1.5 hours.
Explore the northern section of Highbridge Park, a remnant of native forest that has transformed along with the growing city. As we climb from the understory to the canopy of the forest, along the high bluffs overlooking the Harlem River, students will observe traces of the park’s multi-layered past alongside the many native plants and animals that have rebounded since the park’s restoration. Grades 3-8; 2 hours.
Our River, the Giver
The Harlem River, a tidal strait in the Hudson River estuary, is home to a surprising amount of life beneath the surface. At high tide, students have the opportunity to enter the river with waders and a 15 foot long seine net, like that used by the local Lenape Native Americans, to identify fish and invertebrates. In a low tide, the students will sample water and test for a range of quality indicators, including pH., salinity, and dissolved oxygen. Students will leave with tangible reasons to become stewards of our waterways. Grades 3-8; 2 hours.
Through hands on explorations of the trees in the park, students will learn about the needs and benefits of trees in the urban forest and how to identify them through the seasons. Students will gain a whole new respect for trees after learning about their vital role in our ecosystem, especially in our urban environment. Grades K-6; 1.5 hours.
Get ready to feed your senses through seasonal activities in the Riley-Levin Children’s Garden. Whether it’s sifting compost, weeding and watering the beds, planting peas, or harvesting tomatoes, there is always something to do in the garden! Through activities and observations in the herb, orchard, and vegetable beds, students will learn how we work with nature to raise our food. Grades K-6. 1.5 hrs.
Garden Growers is a series of 4-6 guided lessons offered at no cost to K-8th grade classes in one of NYRP community gardens. Students learn how to tend a garden and raise vegetables from seed to plate, while gaining valuable lessons in environmental science and stewardship. All sessions are taught in one of NYRP's local community gardens. Find one conveniently located near your school:
Students begin by testing, preparing and fertilizing the soil, learning the importance of soil on the overall health of the plant. Students transplant or direct sow a variety of seeds depending on the season and, through observation, learn about the conditions for seed germination. Using the method of companion planting, students create a plan for the vegetable beds.
Students learn how to provide their plants with all they need to grow through activities such as watering, weeding, composting, and other sustainable methods. In doing so, they observe and learn about garden ecosystems in action.
At the end of the program, students harvest the vegetables they began as seed and use those fresh ingredients to cook a nutritious and delicious snack. They learn techniques for seed saving, thus witnessing the full life-cycle of the plant.