School Programming

Credit: Bill Lynch

GSWA staff can visit your school or homeschool group (with all necessary supplies and equipment). We are home school friendly and can customize an environmental education program based on your students’ ages and grades. During a school visit, we offer the following programs:

Classroom Environmental Education Programs

With a demonstration using our Enviroscape three-dimensional model of a community, and a topographic model of the Great Swamp Watershed, students will be guided through the “real” water cycle. The presentation includes discussions of what a watershed is, where our drinking water comes from, where our waste water goes, point versus nonpoint source pollution, human impacts on local waterways, and best practices to reduce our impact on local waterways.

Social studies and science intertwine in this lesson, which teaches students how the development of communities in many parts of New Jersey is related to, and impacted by water availability. Where did our forefathers get their drinking water from? What happened to their waste?  How did modes of transportation influence the development of towns?  How did the availability of water sources influence industrialization in New Jersey?  Students will travel backwards and forwards through time as they unravel the importance of water in the story of New Jersey’s reliance on water through the ages.

Not sure what to do with your students after the AP exam? GSWA staff can work with you to create a project for your students relating to water quality and the environment. In the past, we have worked with educators to come up with projects that student groups could conduct research on, then create presentation pieces- including brochures and videos. The topics selected are relevant to GSWA’s mission, and we have been able to use research projects completed by the students in our published materials. Students enjoy knowing that their projects are relevant and will be helping GSWA. We would be happy to discuss the possibilities of a Post-AP Project with you.

Field Trips With GSWA

The School Water Monitoring on the Passaic program involves students in hands-on water monitoring on the Passaic River and its tributaries. GSWA staff can direct students through chemical, visual, and macroinvertebrate monitoring. Visit our SWaMP page to learn more about this program.

This hands-on program focuses on looking for macroinvertebrates in a local waterbody and discussing adaptations that macroinvertebrates have to thrive in their underwater environment. Students will learn how to identify aquatic inhabitants, and how they can tell a story about the quality of the water they live in.

This hands-on program will have students exploring a local water body (location to be determined by educator and GSWA staff). Students will use nets to find macroinvertebrates, and use guides to identify what they find. An emphasis will be placed on identifying macroinvertebrates and what each family indicates about the water quality.

Take a guided tour of GSWA’s Conservation Management Area, a 53-acre property with a floodplain forest, marsh and upland sites. The site allows for investigation of vernal pools (weather depending), soil profiles in wetland and upland locations, and discussions on the function of wetlands, wetland ecology, hydrology, and plant communities in New Jersey. Topics covered can be customized by request depending on your curriculum.

If you would like to arrange a customized class or field trip with one of our educators, please contact Hazel England at or by calling (973) 538-3500. We’re happy to create and arrange programs to fit your curriculum needs. You can also find fantastic teacher resources to help you bring the environment into the classroom here.