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Due to its challenging history and the many restoration efforts in its watershed, the Newtown Creek is a unique waterway that lends itself to the place-based learning experience as an example of the impact humans can have on the natural world. Through our STEM based curriculum and stewardship driven activities, learners will understand the Creek’s history, habitats and inhabitants, incorporating hands-on learning and ultimately connecting the subjects with aspects of environmental justice, climate action and their own lives.

During the field trip season (April – October), NCA hosts private groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays (9 am – 2 pm) for school groups, clubs, summer camps, and other types of educational groups. We can cater our programming to many age ranges (4th grade through college) but cannot accommodate students younger than the second grade. A standard tour can accommodate up to 30 participants for a 2-hour visit, with the ability to host larger groups for longer periods of time with enough notice. We ask a standard fee ($250) for all field trips, but offer a sliding scale and can waive the fee as needed for groups upon request. 

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations are occasionally made for inclement weather as most activities require being outdoors. No refunds will be made for cancellations for other reasons.

Hands-on Activities

Urban Water – Learn more about Newtown Creek and the larger New York/New Jersey estuary system through hands on, place based explorations. Learners of all ages will be introduced to topics such as watersheds and sewersheds, water pollution, and water systems all while getting to know some of the marine wildlife living in the Creek and the broader estuary. We use tools such as plankton tows, microscopes, hand lenses, and water testing tools. For older ages (middle and upper school) students will be able to dive deeper, analyzing data, measuring water’s physical characteristics; dissolved oxygen, turbidity, temperature, pH, and salinity as well as learning how our findings impact our city, quality of life, and human and marine life health.

Urban Ecology – Through these workshops, learners of all ages are able to investigate the  qualities that make a healthy and successful ecosystem. Through introductions to specific fauna and flora as well as deep explorations of concepts such as biodiversity, seasonal changes, cycles of nature, native vs. non native and even invasive plants and animals , and ways in which humans have and continue to change our urban ecology. Seasonal activities may include plant walks, plant structures, soil explorations, seed collecting, flora and fauna  identification, invasive plant removal, and more.

Urban Footprint – Explore the human impact on our environment  through concepts such as the industrial revolution and the beginning of fossil fuel use locally, environmental justice, waste systems,  grey and green infrastructure, stormwater management, urban design, and climate change adaptations. Students of all ages will be able to learn through in person experiences such as viewing recycling systems at work, public spaces  designed to manage stormwater and rising seas, or rain gardens, living architecture and green roofs.  

Location Info

Kingsland Wildflowers at Broadway Stages
NCA manages this 25,000 square foot green roof which includes indoor community space, Newtown Creek access, and a variety of thought provoking views in a building shared with a film and television production company. 

There are multiple bathrooms available at Kingsland Wildflowers and ample space to eat indoors (there is also a full kitchen). Kingsland Wildflowers is not open to the public and an appointment must be made in advance to visit, there are often events that are open to the public, if you are interested in visiting outside of a scheduled trip please check the website for updates. 

Kingsland Wildflowers space can accommodate 30 students max, with a preference for groups under 20. If there are more students in your group, please contact us for the best way to proceed.

Newtown Creek Nature Walk
Located in Greenpoint, this very unique Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) built open space hugs the Newtown Creek shoreline, full of educational moments, plantings and historical/artistic artifacts.

There are no bathrooms available at the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, everything is outdoors and there is no cover. There are picnic tables and benches. The Nature Walk is open to the public during daylight hours, 365 days a year.

We have found that a to the Nature Walk is best  with groups of 30 or less. If there are more students in your group, please contact us for the best way to proceed.

Hunters Point South Parks 
Located in Long Island City where the fast-moving East River and the calm mouth of Newtown Creek meet, this park has the first public access point to the Creek in Queens and is designed to provide coastal habitat for wildlife and incorporate resilient design strategies that address stormwater management, rising sea levels, and pressures related to increasing density.  

Hunters Point Parks has a public bathroom and concession where food may be purchased at certain times and an area with tables, students may bring their own lunches and eat in the concession area. This is a public park. Groups must be respectful of park rules and other park-goers. Trips to Hunter’s Point South Park may be done in partnership with our partners at the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy. Check their website for more activities and other ways to get involved in the park.

Because this is a NYC park, groups are limited to 20 people. If you have more in your group we will need to secure a permit at least one month in advance. So please factor that timing into any planning you may need. We will need to speak with you in advance of one month so we can submit the necessary permits.

Request a Field Trip