Posts Tagged ‘Watershed Education’

Stream Snorkeling Returns this Summer!

Posted on: June 23rd, 2021 by Brent Gotsch
Join AWSMP for stream snor­kel­ing this sum­mer on Fri­day July 9 or July 16.

AWSMP is pleased to announce the return of one of its most pop­u­lar sum­mer activ­i­ties:  stream snor­kel­ing! Dis­cov­er the under­wa­ter world of streams by join­ing us for a fun filled morn­ing of stream snor­kel­ing in the Eso­pus Creek. This free pro­gram was cre­at­ed with fam­i­lies in mind. Par­tic­i­pants must be at least 8 years old and those under the age of 12 must be accom­pa­nied by an adult (the adult does not have to snorkel). This event will be held at the Emer­son Resort and Spa in Mount Trem­per, New York. All equip­ment and sup­plies will be pro­vid­ed. Please bring a tow­el and wear swim clothes and old sneak­ers or closed-toed water shoes (no bare feet please).

This pro­gram is designed for peo­ple that live in the Ashokan Water­shed. The Ashokan Water­shed includes the Towns of Hur­ley, Olive, Wood­stock, and Shan­dak­en in Ulster Coun­ty and the Towns of Lex­ing­ton and Hunter in Greene Coun­ty.

Space is lim­it­ed to 15 par­tic­i­pants so sign up now as this event may fill up quick­ly.

COVID-19 Safe­ty Pre­cau­tions will be fol­lowed, includ­ing wear­ing masks and social dis­tanc­ing where need­ed. Snor­kel­ing equip­ment will be thor­ough­ly dis­in­fect­ed pri­or to the event and after it is com­plet­ed.

Only those that are snor­kel­ing will need to reg­is­ter. If you are reg­is­ter­ing more than one per­son, you will have to reg­is­ter each one sep­a­rate­ly. Once you reg­is­ter you will get a let­ter in the mail with a release form that you will have to fill out and return to AWSMP.

There will be two sep­a­rate ses­sions, with one being held on Fri­day, July 9 and the oth­er being held on Fri­day, July 16. Please click the appro­pri­ate link below to sign up for the date that you wish to attend. Both events will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Fri­day July 9 Snor­kel­ing Event Registration

Fri­day July 16 Snor­kel­ing Event Reg­is­tra­tion

If you have any ques­tions please con­tact Brent Gotsch at or call him at 845–688-3047 ext. 103. If the event becomes sold out please con­tact Brent and he will add you to a wait­ing list.


Watershed Detectives Club Is Off To A Great Start

Posted on: October 22nd, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
A scene from the inau­gur­al ses­sion of the 2020 Water­shed Detec­tives Pro­gram held at the Ashokan Cen­ter. Pho­to by Matt Helffrich

The ongo­ing COVID-19 pan­dem­ic has forced many events and activ­i­ties to be can­celled or switched to an online for­mat and for good rea­son. Tra­di­tion­al school­ing for many stu­dents in the water­shed has moved online ful­ly or in a hybrid of online and lim­it­ed in-per­son teach­ing. Most after­school activ­i­ties on school grounds have been can­celled indef­i­nite­ly. Sad­ly, because of this there is a dearth of oppor­tu­ni­ties for extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties around most sub­jects, though espe­cial­ly sci­ence edu­ca­tion. While the con­cern about the safe­ty of in-per­son edu­ca­tion is war­rant­ed, there are ways to hold in-per­son edu­ca­tion that reduces the risk of expo­sure to the virus. In an effort to pro­vide alter­na­tive pro­gram oppor­tu­ni­ties and to get stu­dents safe­ly engaged in a stream-based and water­shed cur­ricu­lum, AWSMP has relaunched our pop­u­lar Water­shed Detec­tives Pro­gram with added safe­ty features.

Water­shed Detec­tives has tra­di­tion­al­ly been an after­school pro­gram held at the Ben­nett Inter­me­di­ate School in Boiceville for grades 4–6. This year, instead of being held on school grounds the pro­gram is being offered at the Ashokan Cen­ter in near­by Olive­bridge, NY and for stu­dents in grades 4–8. Hold­ing the pro­gram at the Ashokan Cen­ter allows for good phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing between stu­dents and access to the Ashokan Center’s numer­ous trails, streams and forests for learn­ing and dis­cov­ery. Sev­er­al safe­ty pro­to­cols have been put in place along with strict san­i­ta­tion pro­ce­dures to reduce the pos­si­bil­i­ty of infec­tion. While the loca­tion has changed the same great pro­gram­ming is tak­ing place where stu­dents will learn about the impor­tance of streams, water­sheds, and ripar­i­an areas.

“It has def­i­nite­ly been a chal­lenge get­ting this year’s pro­gram up and run­ning, but we have a sol­id plan in place in an effort to keep things run­ning smooth­ly,” says Matt Savat­gy, AWSMP Youth Edu­ca­tor and leader of the Water­shed Detective’s Pro­gram. “The kids are real­ly enjoy­ing being togeth­er, out­doors with their friends and are active­ly engaged in learn­ing to become stew­ards for our watershed.”

Cur­rent­ly, the pro­gram is full. How­ev­er, AWSMP hopes to have more youth and adult pro­grams in the com­ing months. Please reg­u­lar­ly check our web­page for upcom­ing events and pro­grams offered both online and in-person.

The 2020 Water­shed Detec­tives Emblem

AWSMP Hosts Successful Fall Foliage Walk

Posted on: October 6th, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
AWSMP Edu­ca­tor Matt Savat­gy teach­es about water­sheds dur­ing a hike on the Ashokan Quar­ry Trail

Last week on the morn­ing of Octo­ber 3rd, the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) host­ed a fall foliage walk on the recent­ly opened Ashokan Quar­ry Trail in Olive­bridge, NY. AWSMP has a goal of host­ing safe, social­ly dis­tanced, in-per­son events if con­di­tions allow. While it may have been a lit­tle ear­ly to expe­ri­ence the fall col­ors at their peak, there was per­fect autumn weath­er and all ten par­tic­i­pants had an excel­lent time.

The Ashokan Quar­ry Trail opened ear­li­er this year and is an easy 2‑mile loop that can be com­plet­ed and enjoyed by hik­ers of all abil­i­ty lev­els. Key points of inter­est includ­ed the on-site quar­ry where stone used in the con­struc­tion of the Ashokan Reser­voir was har­vest­ed, an aban­doned rail­road grade and load­ing sta­tion, and a scenic vista where sev­er­al local moun­tain peaks could be viewed.  Along the route, AWSMP edu­ca­tors taught par­tic­i­pants about water­shed sci­ence, for­est ecol­o­gy, the his­to­ry of the site and its impor­tance in the con­struc­tion of the Ashokan Reser­voir.

AWSMP nor­mal­ly attends many com­mu­ni­ty events and func­tions through­out the year in the Ashokan Water­shed. How­ev­er, due to the ongo­ing COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, many of those events have been can­celled or post­poned. In an effort to keep in touch with our stream­side landown­ers and every­one who enjoys and ben­e­fits from the Ashokan Water­shed, AWSMP has shift­ed the major­i­ty of its edu­ca­tion and out­reach pro­gram­ming to an online for­mat. AWSMP edu­ca­tors have post­ed a num­ber edu­ca­tion­al videos to our YouTube page so be sure to check those out. 

When New York entered Phase 4 of reopen­ing ear­li­er this year, AWSMP insti­tut­ed sev­er­al out­door, social­ly dis­tanced events. If con­di­tions and pub­lic health direc­tives allow, AWSMP hopes to have more of these types of events this win­ter as well as next spring and summer.

Please vis­it the AWSMP web­site for the most up-to-date list­ings of events (online and in-per­son) and stay in touch through our Face­book, Twit­ter, and Insta­gram accounts.


New Video on Stream Channel Stability

Posted on: May 6th, 2020 by Tim Koch

The AWSMP office might be phys­i­cal­ly closed, but our edu­ca­tion staff have been hard at work gen­er­at­ing online stream based con­tent for both youth and adults.

AWSMP Educators Matt Savatgy, Brent, Gotsch, Tim Koch, and Amanda Cabanillas.

AWSMP Edu­ca­tors (from left to right) Matt Savat­gy, Brent Gotsch, Tim Koch, and Aman­da Caban­il­las dur­ing a snow­shoe stream walk in 2019.


AWSMP Stream Edu­ca­tor Tim Koch has just released a new video on stream chan­nel sta­bil­i­ty: what it is, and why it is impor­tant to main­tain and improve the sta­bil­i­ty of our rivers and streams. This 9‑minute video is meant for landown­ers, munic­i­pal offi­cials, con­ser­va­tion advi­so­ry coun­cil mem­bers, and any­one else inter­est­ed in or involved in stream management.


This video can also be viewed direct­ly from AWSM­P’s YouTube Chan­nel.

AWSMP Water­shed Youth Edu­ca­tor Matt Savat­gy and Pro­gram Assis­tant Aman­da Caban­il­las are cur­rent­ly pro­duc­ing a series of edu­ca­tion­al videos and at-home activ­i­ties for stu­dents. Fol­low along at home as they dis­cuss dif­fer­ent types of rocks, assess a cul­vert, and inves­ti­gate stream fea­tures in a chan­nel cross-section.


Screenshot of CCE Ulster Youth Education Video Series Website

Screen­shot of CCE Ulster Youth Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion Video Series Website


The online sci­ence series can be found at the Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster Coun­ty web­site and on the AWSMP web­site under Videos.

Check back with us in the com­ing weeks, espe­cial­ly if you are a stream­side landown­er or own prop­er­ty in the Spe­cial Flood Haz­ard Area as Resource Edu­ca­tor Brent Gotsch will be pro­duc­ing a series of short videos on flood­plains, flood­proof­ing, and all things flood insur­ance. In these upcom­ing videos, Brent will teach view­ers how to read a flood insur­ance rate map (FIRM) and the work­ings of the Nation­al Flood Insur­ance Pro­gram (NFIP) among oth­er flood relat­ed topics.

As always, our edu­ca­tion and tech­ni­cal staff are avail­able to answer any stream, flood­plain, or ripar­i­an buffer relat­ed ques­tions! Call the AWSMP office main line at (845) 688‑3047 for assis­tance or email


A Sojourn into the Wizarding World

Posted on: June 24th, 2016 by Caroline Stupple

After a year of activ­i­ties rang­ing from dis­sect­ing owl pel­lets to roller­coast­er engi­neer­ing, the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) pre­sent­ed some water­shed activ­i­ties to the 4‑H Tech Wiz­ards — stu­dents at Miller Mid­dle School, Bai­ley Mid­dle School, and Ellenville Ele­men­tary School. 4‑H Tech Wiz­ards is a Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster Coun­ty pro­gram run by edu­ca­tors Alli­son Solian and Matt Helffrich.


IMG_1713 (1)

Water­shed Edu­ca­tor, Brent Gotsch, and Bai­ley Mid­dle School Tech Wiz­ards explor­ing water­sheds and the impor­tance of water­shed protection.


Our first ses­sion with the wiz­ards start­ed off with a dis­cus­sion about the water cycle and where water comes from. We then focused on how water flows across the land­scape and col­lects in a water­shed. The wiz­ards dis­cussed things that humans typ­i­cal­ly build near water and then built a water­shed from paper com­plete with farms, hous­es, and fac­to­ries. We used dif­fer­ent water-sol­u­ble col­ored mark­ers to rep­re­sent the pol­lu­tants that can be pro­duced by those devel­op­ments if not man­aged well, and filled in the crevices of the land­scape. Then came the real­ly excit­ing part — a spray bot­tle filled with water. “Wow!!” exclaimed the kids as they could see all the dif­fer­ent “pol­lu­tants” run down from their devel­oped areas and col­lect in the water­shed in the mid­dle of the tray. Our con­ver­sa­tion seam­less­ly flowed into dis­cus­sion about the impor­tance of con­ser­va­tion and pro­tec­tion of our water­sheds for human use and envi­ron­men­tal stability.



Water­shed Edu­ca­tor, Car­o­line Stup­ple, and Ellenville Ele­men­tary School Tech Wiz­ards explor­ing the impor­tance of wet­lands and what remov­ing them can do to the flood­ing pat­tern of a stream.


Our sec­ond ses­sion was anoth­er water-based activ­i­ty – the flood­plain mod­el! The wiz­ards were an engaged and thought­ful bunch whose enthu­si­asm for flood­ing out the lit­tle mod­el vil­lages they built was matched by their fas­ci­na­tion with pos­si­ble engi­neer­ing solu­tions to the flood­ing prob­lems. After test­ing pre­dic­tions and solu­tions, the wiz­ards were able to look at a Flood Insur­ance Rate Map for their school dis­trict and were sur­prised to learn about their school’s prox­im­i­ty to flood­plains, and about flood pro­tec­tion tech­niques. At the end the wiz­ards were allowed to stop­per the end of the mod­el and pour water on the rain­mak­er, this sent all their homes afloat; the pure joy this brought to the wiz­ards was well worth it.



Water­shed Edu­ca­tor, Matt Savat­gy, and Miller Ele­men­tary School Tech Wiz­ards manip­u­lat­ing the mod­el and exam­in­ing the impacts that devel­op­ing imper­vi­ous struc­tures, such as park­ing lots, has on streams.


AWSMP had a great time work­ing with the Tech Wizard’s 4‑H Club and we look for­ward to more fun stream activ­i­ties with them this summer!



Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts – Oh My!

Posted on: June 17th, 2016 by Caroline Stupple

Water­shed Edu­ca­tor, Car­o­line Stup­ple, demon­strat­ing the flood­plain mod­el to Round­out Val­ley Scout Cam­poree atten­dees June 11, 2016. Pho­to by Matt Savatgy


Round­out Val­ley held their annu­al Scout Cam­poree and the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) was asked to present along­side many oth­er amaz­ing edu­ca­tors and their dis­plays. The Cam­poree start­ed off with a grand scout flag rais­ing cer­e­mo­ny fol­lowed by about 300 scouts mak­ing rounds to all the dis­plays set before them. Among the excit­ing exhibits, just to name just a few, were Bet­ty Boomer with a vari­ety of pond macroin­ver­te­brates, amphib­ians, and rep­tiles for the scouts to explore and Wild Moun­tain Birds wildlife reha­bil­i­ta­tors with a reha­bil­i­tat­ed birds display.

AWSMP set up an inter­ac­tive flood­plain mod­el to edu­cate par­tic­i­pants about the impor­tance of water­sheds, specif­i­cal­ly as it relates to devel­op­ment, stormwa­ter run-off, and flood­plain man­age­ment. These con­cepts are com­plex in nature and have long his­to­ries entwined in both sci­ence and pol­i­cy, mak­ing the con­tent tough to present in an approach­able man­ner. The flood­plain mod­el, how­ev­er, pro­vides a manip­u­lat­able visu­al that makes those very con­cepts more acces­si­ble to kids and adults alike. The edu­ca­tion­al con­tent, dis­guised in a fun hands-on, water-based activ­i­ty, drew scouts and gen­er­al camp­ground atten­dees back to the table mul­ti­ple times. Kids who had seen the dis­play once or twice ear­li­er in the day returned and were excit­ed to explain the impacts of the dif­fer­ent manip­u­la­tions to the new crowd. Turn­ing stu­dents into edu­ca­tors is what we love to see!

Despite down pour­ing rain, thun­der, and cool­er tem­per­a­tures the event was a smash­ing hit and we look for­ward to future collaborations!