Watershed Education Program

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 8.20.33 AMThe Watershed Education Program was piloted in Spring 2007 to provide watershed-focused curricular enrichment for Pre-K through Middle School students in the three school district within the Canandaigua Lake watershed: Naples, Canandaigua and Marcus Whitman.

The goal of the Watershed Education Program is to teach students about the great importance of our watershed using hands-on activities correlated to the NYS curriculum standards, and provide information for families about water quality protection.

This important program is co-sponsored by the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association (CLWA) and Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council.  Both organizations were recognized in 2012 by the Canandaigua City School District with the Friend of Education Award for their commitment to education.

• Annually teach 2,000 students in the classroom, at camps, and on field trips about the importance of water quality protection within the Canandaigua Lake watershed

• Developed a watershed-focused enrichment curriculum that aligns with NY State Science Standards in six grade levels, Pre-K through Middle School– topics include:

➢ Geography of our watershed
➢ Non point source pollution
➢ Water conservation and the water cycle
➢ Land uses and pollution solutions
➢ Macroinvertebrates as bioindicators
➢ Chemical testing for water quality assessment

• Stream monitoring programs have been established at Naples Creek with Naples 7th grade science students and Flint Creek with Marcus Whitman’s 6th grade ECO students

• Created the “Watershed Week” in Naples and Marcus Whitman Elementary schools for all 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders to participate in watershed-focused programs

• Developed field trips and classroom-based labs for Canandaigua 6th grade science students to learn about water quality through using aquatic insects as bioindicators

• Awarded funding from the highly competitive Royal Bank of Canada Blue Water Grant to support an ongoing storm drain marking project. To date, nearly 500 custom designed storm drains have been marked within the Canandaigua Lake watershed boundary

• Created and led community outreach programs for the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Center for Sustainability, STEM Science Camp at 4-H Camp Bristol Hills and Ganondagan State Historic Site

• Provide parents and families educational materials about water quality protection, storm water management, non point source pollution, erosion prevention and nutrient management

The Watershed Education Program is constantly evolving to adapt and respond to the changing needs of our local schools. As always, the goal of the Watershed Education Program is to provide the best educational experience for students to learn about the importance of protecting water quality in the Canandaigua Lake watershed.

Watershed Workshops


The Watershed Education Program’s environmental educators have worked closely with K-12 teachers to develop a variety of hands-on, activity based workshops focused on watershed topics that meet NYS Science Standards and local school district teaching objectives.  Watershed workshops topics include:
• Geography of our watershed
• Non-point source pollution
• Water conservation and the water cycle
• Land uses and pollution solutions
• Macroinvertebrates as bioindicators
• Chemical testing for water quality assessment

Stream Monitoring


Kids participating in the Stream Monitoring program learn about using aquatic insects as indicators of water quality and relative health.  Students become the scientists themselves and determine, based on the aquatic insects discovered, how clean (or dirty!) the water could be.

Storm Drain Marking

In 2005, the Watershed Education Program received a grant from the Royal Bank of Canada’s (RBC) Blue Water Project to raise awareness about water quality issues through marking storm drains. Storm drain labels are adhered to the curb adjacent to storm drains and read “No Dumping, Drains to Lake,” which helps educate community members that storm drain water drains directly to the lake, does not get cleaned and can carry with it harmful pollutants. To date, nearly 500 storm drains have been labelled within the Canandaigua Lake Watershed thanks to RBC’s Blue Water Project and student volunteers from local schools, youth service groups and FLCC student clubs.

I liked that I got to actually see the organisms in the stream, in person, instead of just looking at pictures.


The Watershed Model is a great visual of how pollutants end up in our lake from different parts of the watershed.

6th Grader - Canandaigua

I never knew how easy it is to pollute the watershed. I’m going to try and help make the lake a better place to swim in, drink from, and live around.

7th Grade Science Teacher

Getting the kids out into the stream environment engages students to learn in ways that cannot be replicated in the classroom.