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The Woonasquatucket River, affectionately called the Woony, has a lot going for it. The lower portion of the river runs through the heart of urban Providence and creates a place for everyone to enjoy nature right in the city. There are some dangers however, because of the Woony’s use to power industry. The WRWC wants people in the community, especially kids, to use and enjoy the wonderful natural resources right outside their homes and schools, but we must ensure that they do so safely. We teach everyone the “Dos and Don’ts of the Woonasquatucket,” and hope to continue improving the health of our river by connecting people to nature in a meaningful, respectful way.
Environmental and Science Education at Every Level:
Fish in the Classroom: Student says goodbye to her fish friend at the William D’Abate Elementary School Fish Release 2017.
Fish in the Classroom – Elementary School students learn science by raising brook trout in their classroom during the year and then releasing them into the Woony River. Students observe the brook trout lifecycle, watching their fish develop from an egg to a swimming fish. In the process, they gain a passion for science, wildlife and their local watershed through a series of interactive hands-on lessons such as:
- Experimenting with a stormwater and watershed model
- Building their own dream streams
- Running through a fish ladder obstacle course, and
- Practicing the Dos and Don’ts of the Woony River in our outdoor classrooms
River Adventurers After-School – Middle School students visit the Woony parks and Greenway weekly as a part of this exciting after-school program. They:
- Learn to identify wildlife
- Study the history of the river and how it became polluted
- Become citizen scientists and test the water
- Develop plans to make our watershed better
- Enjoy field trips, such as a kayak adventure at Georgiaville Pond and a biking lesson at our Red Shed Bike Shop.
These ongoing outdoor activities that make up the River Adventures curriculum teach students how to become stewards for their local environment, and to respect and care for nature.
River Adventurers: Students explore nature after school during a kayaking field trip. Ashly, a returning student who also participates in Greenway clean up events with her family, is pictured enjoying Georgiaville Pond on a sunny October day.
River Adventurers: Students become more confident and comfortable on bikes by learning the basics of bike riding at the Red Shed Bike Shop, located at Riverside Park.
Environmental Leaders – This high school level program can take the form of special field trips for classes or an in-school year long program. Our goal is to help high school students become our next community leaders to restore and protect environmental assets. Students learn by exploring the parks and river in Providence and beyond. They practice the scientific method learning topics such as:
- Habitat restoration
- Native versus invasive plants
- Water quality testing
- Urban fish community monitoring
In the year-long course, students not only learn through field trips but they also research and then take action; this is our “Learn One, Do One, Teach One” model. Independent research or personal projects help them take their learning to the next level, and allows them to delve deeper into subjects that pique their personal interests. Our new leaders then teach what they have learned to younger students and present their findings to the public; they truly become environmental leaders.
Dos and Don’ts Community Field Day – This summer activity offers youth from local community centers a day to learn environmental education, play watershed games, go for a paddle on the river and enjoy a healthy barbecue lunch. Community centers are always welcomed to, and often frequent, the many local parks to enjoy the summer sun. Field trips or special lessons are available from our education team to help youth engage in and become stewards of local natural places. Activities include fun games like the fish ladder obstacle course and river herring life cycle tag and citizen science such as testing and comparing the water quality in both an urban and rural settings.
Dos and Don’ts Community Field Day: Exploration of the Fish Ladder.
Dos and Don’ts Community Field Day: Kids get to experience the river up close and personal in a canoe with Woony staff.