Resources from Institute 2016

header for THV webTo mark the National Park Service’s centennial, the institute focused on significant places in our region — not just national parks and historic sites, but all parks, historic sites, and museums within the 11-county Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

That’s a lot of territory, and we certainly didn’t cover it all, but the sites we learned about were fascinating and varied and whet the appetite to explore and discover.

To get an idea of how packed the three days were see descriptions of this year’s workshops and field experiences or the institute program. Presenters also shared the following from their sessions.


Community STEAM: Exploring Our Places (PDF of PowerPoint), Andrés Henríquez, STEM Learning in Communities program, New York Hall of Science. Andrés challenged staff from parks, historic sites, and museums to ask their schools and communities, “How can we be helpful?” and to aim for “local excellence and global influence”.

The exhibit, A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World, was the subject of A Challenging Interpretation: Discovering people’s stories within the history of slavery with Heidi Hill, manager, Crailo State Historic Site. The exhibit is open Wed. through Sun, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., through October, by appointment during the winter, and available to borrow in 2017. Heidi recommended 20 questions and answers about Dutch slavery and its legacy (80 pages) by Stephen Small and Sandew Hira. Amrit Consultancy, 2014, ISBN-10: 9074897797.

Follow the North Star: Music & History Coming Together, composer and musician T. K. Blue. Purchase his suite, Follow the North Star, as a CD or download at cdbaby.

Student work from Bridge Night. Photo by Virginia McCurdy.

Student work from Bridge Night. (Virginia McCurdy)

Historic Bridges of the Hudson Valley: A Museum without Walls (3-page summary), Kathryn Burke, teacher, author, and project director, Historic Bridges of the Hudson Valley, and Diana Spera, MS science teacher, St. Denis-St. Columba School, Hopewell Junction.

The Hudson: An Emerging Curriculum, Ryan Palmer, director, and Vicky Garufi, director of education, Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB). Download Three Rivers of Yonkers, designed for grades 4 and 5.

Plan a Hike through History (PDF of PowerPoint), Tierney Rosenstock, land projects manager, Winnakee Nature Preserve. The preserve is home to more than 80 species including eight of greatest conservation need.

Planning & Paying for Student Field Experiences, Susan Carver, NYS Parks’ Connect Kids for Title 1 programs; Dorna Schroeter, program coordinator, PNW BOCES; and Debi Duke, THV. Here’s a PDF of Dorna’s PowerPoint explaining
BOCES’ state aid program and an overview of offerings from the Center for Environmental Education. Download a list of funding possibilities.

The Jay Heritage Center‘s museum theater piece, Striving for Freedom, is an introduction to the history of NYS slavery and abolition for grades four and up. Students participate in an interactive performance with a professional cast followed by discussion. Set in 1813, Striving for Freedom examines the lives of sisters, Clarinda and Mary, who were enslaved by the Jay family.

The program includes tours of the site-orientation exhibit, the house, and grounds. Teachers receive pre- and post-visit materials. Fee: $5 per student. Social Studies: 1.1, 1.2., 1.3, and 1.4. The Center can accommodate up to 130 students. To schedule:  914-698-9275 or

Tools & Tips for Exploring a Scenic Hudson Park Near You, Kate Brill, education outreach coordinator, and Kristin Sullivan, Student Conservation Associate, Scenic Hudson. LessonsMagnifying Glass and Habitat ExplorationPreparationFunding IdeasPlanning Checklist, and Student Prep List.

NYS DEC Estuary program

Field Experiences

Hudson River STEAM, Tideline Program at Esopus Meadows Preserve, Ulster County, with Clearwater staff.  Facilitators Eli Schloss and Tom Lake shared an Overview of Clearwater’s classroom programsTideline program description, and Tideline application form.

Also available: the Estuary map shown at right. Free 36 x 20 inch poster from the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation; e-mail or phone her at 845-256-3115.

A Multidisciplinary Look at the Hudson Valley Past, West Point Foundry Preserve and Putnam History Museum, Cold Spring, Putnam County.  Take a virtual tour of the foundry site. LessonsMacroinvertebrates and Letters from the Past.  Rebirth of Foundry Cove: Nature Notes and Worksheet. Guided tour, Sat., Oct. 1, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., details.

What participants saY

Judy Giuriceo, curator of exhibits and media, Statue of Liberty
National Monument and Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration advised site staff to reach out during the off-season: “visit schools, create special family passes and workshops, organize hikes and other activities for homeschoolers.”

An anonymous participant plans to remind colleagues, “that learning doesn’t always have to take place in a classroom. Schools and outside resources should be partners in education.”

Another educator was struck by the possibility of “taking an antique chair and pursuing many curriculum avenues using this one prop.” I also got “ideas, lessons, and curriculum our school may incorporate to enhance classroom experiences and make an addition of at least one new place-based experience,” the anonymous writer added.

See institute presenters in action and learn about events at their parks, museums, and historic sites.