TOTAL OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE
Wildrivers has a twenty-two-year history of programming for schools, with an
accident-free record of water safety. Whether through canoeing or rafting,
Class I-III rivers are always a program centerpiece. A wide range of
additional activities provide a rich experience of the natural environment,
often connected to specific areas of the school curriculum.
OUTSTANDING STAFF & CONSULTANTS
All Wildrivers staff share multiple certifications-- in canoeing, first aid,
and outdoor leadership. Some have achieved membership on the U.S.
Wildwater Team; others, the highest levels of certification and training
with the American Canoe Association. Enthusiasm for teaching, high
instructor-student ratios, and a thorough knowledge of skill development,
all support an exciting learning experience for students. Consultants in
other program areas include astronomer Bob Berman, widely published and
nationally recognized through TV and NPR appearances; naturalist John
Serrao, whose photographs have appeared in Audubon and National
Geographic before publication in his books; raptor experts, experts
in water quality and watershed management, snorkeling and diving experts for
lake and river ecology, storytellers, and the Director of the Nature
Conservancy’s “Neversink- Delaware River Basin” Program.
CUSTOMIZED PROGRAMS THAT BUILD COMMUNITY
Programs for grades 5 through 12 are carefully planned to meet specific
needs and interests of each school. However, all programs support teamwork,
encourage participation by every student, create energy and excitement, and
help develop a stronger sense of community. The collaboration required for
paddling rapids or for group initiatives helps dispel campus cliques.
Teachers also speak of gaining new insights into their students through
observing them in our programs. These benefits have led many schools to use
Wildrivers as a “kickoff” experience to begin the school year.
Most* programs take place 2 hours from New York City, on the Delaware, A
National Wild and Scenic River, and on one of its Pennsylvania
tributaries, the Lackawaxen River (a Native American name for “swift
waters”). Sightings of great blue heron, hawk, falcon, and bald eagle are
common on both rivers. Students and teachers staying overnight have a choice
of four camp facilities. For groups of 40 –200, three camps near the
Delaware & Lackawaxen Rivers offer 600-1200 acre campuses, 80-100 acre
lakes, a choice of platform tents or cabins in the woods, and large
dining/meeting facilities. For smaller groups, Wildrivers maintains a
campground on the Lackawaxen River (reached by paddling across the river)
next to 10,000 acres of wilderness. At the campsites appetites are always
big, and the quality of meals is always high.
*Additional rivers and locations are available.
EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION WITH IMPACT
(see “School Comments” )
Wildrivers can conduct one-day rafting trips for
schools, but most class programs range from 2-5 days. (See “Program
Examples”). Programs usually combine activities for the whole class with
smaller group workshops and initiatives. Group Initiatives, both land and
water-based, follow the pioneering models of Project Adventure (See
“Group Initiatives”). The goal of these initiatives is to increase mutual
support and teamwork within the group while developing personal confidence.
In addition to rafting and canoeing (including slalom racing), other
activities and areas of instruction include a wide choice of workshops led
by naturalist John Serrao, snorkeling to explore lake ecology, studying
raptors and their habitat, discovering river hydrology and fish habitat
through snorkeling, learning to swim rapids, interactive storytelling,
development of survival skills, exploration of both the sun and the night
sky with astronomer Bob Berman, and workshop/hikes with George Schuler at
the Nature Conservancy’s “Neversink River Preserve”, to examine
water quality, watershed management, and the role of water in the life of
our planet. Program outcomes for students are twofold: 1) increasing their
appreciation of group collaboration to develop individual self-awareness and
confidence, and 2) deepening their appreciation and understanding of the
natural environment, as stewards are needed now more than ever.
Program costs, which include all transportation, vary from $ 125-225 per
student per day, depending on number of days, class size, program content,
and location. Programs are not limited to the examples on this website. For
more information, contact Gray Smith at 914-923-8157, or