Rocking the Boat

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on-water group program

Custom-built to allow participants to grow as a team, be physically active, and put academic learning into practice, Rocking the Boat's On-Water Group Programs offer co-workers, students, and teachers a one-of-a-kind experience on the Bronx River aboard a fleet of hand-built wooden boats. The programs described below are targeted to different audiences but share common traits: all participants learn basic on-water safety, row in handmade, traditional rowboats, and have a huge amount of fun! Particular effort is put into creating unique learning experiences and customizing content to suit each group's focus and meet their specific goals.

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Rocking the Boat offers a unique summer experience balancing recreation, teambuilding and academics for groups of up to 25 students. Ranging in age from 10 to 18, young people experience first-hand their most important local natural resource, take part in team work and learn to row on the Bronx River. Plus, environmental field science and maritime activities allow students to be transported to different worlds right in their own community. As citizen scientists, youth may take on an important ecological project, collect and analyze data and determine practical solutions to environmental problems. Or a program focus on navigational skills can open up a new realm as students realize that water and a booming maritime industry surround their city.

Teachers interested in a unique professional development opportunity are invited to work as a group with Rocking the Boat. Programs can be customized to focus on specific academic subjects or themes such as biology or Bronx River wading birds. As an experienced youth development practitioner, Rocking the Boat can help educators explore ways of integrating hands-on techniques with traditional classroom learning. The program can also help groups of teachers work better together and grow more cohesive as a team.

    all youth will:

  • Learn basic on-water safety
  • Learn to row
  • Learn about Rocking the Boat's efforts to restore the Bronx River
  • Learn about the natural and social history of the Bronx River

    teachers will:

  • Learn about the educational resources that exist in the riverine environment of the South Bronx
  • Learn how to use the outdoors as a component of curriculum
  • Learn to incorporate hands-on activities in the classroom
  • Learn to work together more effectively
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Service-learning is a teaching strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, model civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Students participating in multi-session Service Learning programs at Rocking the Boat discover their individual strengths while pulling together to achieve real restoration work on the Bronx River.

Rocking the Boat offers Ecology Tours of the Bronx River Estuary, a valuable and often overlooked natural resource, in the spring and fall. Two-hour tours bring rowers from Hunts Point Riverside Park north to Concrete Plant Park and south to the mouth of the River. Tour dates can be scheduled by private groups or individuals can register with Rocking the Boat’s partner, NYC Audubon. Please call for more information.

    students will:

  • Participate in local improvement projects guided by professionals from governmental and environmental agencies
  • Acquire on-the-job training and begin to develop strong work ethics
  • Develop teamwork skills and work with others more effectively
  • Learn about the history of environmental activism in the Bronx
  • Complete a resume as their final project

    participants will:

  • Learn about and see up close the many birds and animals that call the Bronx River home
  • Be given the opportunity to use binoculars and to take photos and field notes
  • Learn about the social and natural history of the Bronx River and Hunts Point

"Simply put, amazing. I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful job you and your crew did. The program was great and the experiences and life skills that my children have developed are all because of Rocking the Boat. I look forward to future endeavors and can't wait to get back on the water with my students and your team. Thank you."

- Edwin M. Alexander, Science Teacher, CUNY Prep High School

"Rocking the Boat was the perfect venue for our team-building and educational session. Adam and his staff went above and beyond to ensure an enjoyable and meaningful afternoon on the Bronx River. After seeing New York City from a unique perspective on the water, our group of local and international entrepreneurs left with a deeper appreciation for both the river and the South Bronx. Thank you!"

- David Gilford, Assistant Director, Center for Economic Transformation

For more information, please contact Nina Sander, Director of Public Programs

phone: 718.466.5799 x1219

On-Water Group Programs are supported, in part, by a generous grant from the J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation.