Posts Tagged ‘youth education’

Stream Explorers Youth Adventure 2021 Registration is Open

Posted on: April 27th, 2021 by Brent Gotsch

The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) is excited to announce that registration for the Stream Explorers 2021 Youth Adventure is now open! Stream Explorers is an exciting day-long science-based program for youth in grades 3 through 7 residing in the Ashokan Reservoir Watershed (this includes the Towns of Hurley, Olive, Shandaken and Woodstock in Ulster County and the Towns of Hunter and Lexington in Greene County). This year’s event will be held on Saturday, June 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Ashokan Center located at 477 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge, NY. Register online today at

Stream Explorers is a fun-filled day full of stream-themed activities. Participants will use science models to learn how streams work and to assess stream health. We will play watershed-related games, learn how nature filters water, and explore the Esopus Gorge. A hearty bag-lunch and morning and afternoon snacks will be provided. Youth are encouraged to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions so dress in layers, bring an all-weather jacket and wear closed-toed shoes. It is also encouraged to bring a pair of water-proof muck boots. Bring sunscreen and insect repellant. Watch our video on a previous Stream Explorers Youth Adventure to see some of the activities.

We have several measures in place to keep participants safe from Covid-19. We are limiting registration to the first 40 participants. Youth will be further divided into smaller groups of 10 and interaction with other groups will be limited. It will be mandatory for all participants to wear a mask while indoors or within 6 feet of one another. If materials are to be shared, participants will be required to wear gloves (that will be provided) and common surfaces will be disinfected regularly. Unlike in previous years we will not be eating a buffet lunch in the dining hall. Bag lunches will be substituted and we will eat with our subgroups.

Space is limited and we expect to fill up quickly so register as soon as possible at Any questions related to the Stream Explorers Youth Adventure can be directed to Matt Savatgy at or Brent Gotsch at or call 845-688-3047 ext. 103. 


AWSMP Provides Watershed-Based Remote Learning during Pandemic

Posted on: January 26th, 2021 by Brent Gotsch
Watershed Youth Educator Matt Savatgy providing remote learning science education for elementary school students in the Onteora Central School District. Photo by Bailey Savatgy.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) has found a way to provide watershed-based science education to Onteora Central School District elementary students.

Working directly with teachers, our youth educator, Matt Savatgy, has been providing remote instructional support since last fall. Regardless of whether they are at school or at home, students join Matt each week for a live Google Classroom science session. A wide range of watershed-related topics are covered throughout the school year. According to Matt, “Much of the elementary school science curriculum is directly relatable to the Ashokan Watershed, particularly in fourth grade.”

Savatgy uses short video clips, lots of back-and-forth discussions, demonstrations, specimens from his extensive natural history collection, and games to help students grasp required scientific concepts.  Bennett Elementary School Teacher Elizabeth Lefferts says, “My students eagerly look forward to each of our science sessions with Mr. Savatgy and the interactive activities they know are awaiting them.”

As a way to extend learning beyond the remote classroom meetings students are provided with video links and activity resources for them to try at home and they are encouraged to use them while exploring their local outdoor setting. Fourth Grade teacher, Liz Corsitto, indicated that, “This year has been difficult to navigate in terms of teaching and learning virtually. Matt has stepped in to encourage our students to still love science even though it is being delivered virtually and to get involved in the science that surrounds them at home.”

The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program also provides numerous opportunities outside of school for students to learn about the importance of streams and our watershed. A couple of these activities include: The Watershed Detectives afterschool program and the annual Stream Explorers Youth Adventure. To learn more about these programs and AWSMP, visit


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

Watershed Detectives Afterschool Program

Posted on: October 1st, 2020 by Brent Gotsch
Watershed Detectives Afterschool Program

The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program is excited to announce that Matt Savatgy and education staff from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County will be offering his Watershed Detectives Club as an in-person, afterschool program at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, Tuesday afternoons, beginning October 13th (see above ad). We will be spending our time doing fun, “hands-on” science and nature activities while learning about our local watershed and streams.

We have put together an approved, New York State compliant safety plan for this program that includes special precautions for COVID-19. Our trained staff will be conducting the program using physical distancing methods. Face masks are required when we are indoors and when we are within 6 feet of each other out-of-doors.

The program is free of charge to Onteora School District students, but space is very limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. To register for the program, contact Linda Gonnella at Please contact Matt Savatgy if you have any questions about the program at or at (845)-657-7383.


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


Stream Explorers, Register Now!

Posted on: March 19th, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Stream Explorers of the Ashokan Watershed, Grades 3 through 7, are invited to take part in this year’s Stream Explorers Youth Adventure on Saturday, April 14th! The Youth Adventure will run from 8:30am to 4:30pm at the Ashokan Cen­ter in Olive­bridge, NY. Stream Explorers can expect to enjoy a fun-filled, action-packed day in the outdoors learning about how streams work, investigating stream ecosystems, and learning to use science tools to assess stream health! A hearty lunch, as well as morning and afternoon snacks will be provided.

The Earlybird registration deadline has ended, but regular registration is still available.

Space is limited, so don’t delay!

Register by April 6th here and check out our brochure for more information!