A Three-Week Trek Across the New York City Water Supply System
In the summer of 2007, six students from New York Harbor School in Brooklyn and six students from Sidney High School, in Delaware County, took a three-week summer trek tracing New York City’s drinking water supply. They became spokespeople for the water-supply system and brought public attention to the 10th Anniversary of the Memorandum of Agreement, which brought together, for the first time in a long and bitter history, all the stakeholders in the system.
Throughout the trek the students assessed the quality of the water in streams, rivers and reservoirs; documented their findings with photographs and journal entries; talked to public officials, scientists, conservationists, and park rangers; and hosted press conferences to share with the public, from the trenches, what they learned.
“Although our paths diverged — each of us returning to the communities from which we’d come — we all carried with us a sense of responsibility. As a result of the experiences that we shared and the lessons that we learned over the last several weeks, we each set out into the world ready to educate others about NYC’s water supply. Imbued with this shared sense of purpose, we had become stewards of our precious water resources.”
New York Harbor School: Asha Armstrong ~ Leydi Basilio ~ Natalie Bloomfield ~ Sean Soto ~ Jerriel Stafford ~ Gabriel Torres
Sidney High School: Robert Loibl ~ Becca Miner ~ Marissa Morton ~ Sarah Pate ~ Sarah Place ~ Bryan Price
Wes Gillingham ~ Sara Scott ~ Todd Paternoster ~ Tizoc Gomez ~ Ed McGee ~ Jennifer Ostrow
Trek Partners and Organizers
- The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development
- Catskill Mountaineer
- New York City Department of Environmental Protection
- New York Harbor School
- New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
- Stroud Water Research Center
Leo Model Foundation; New York Department of Environmental Conservation; New York City Department of Environmental Protection; Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation; and several individual donors.
As a follow-up to the trek, the students had an exhibit of their photographs and journal entries at the following locations: Queens Museum of Art, Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, Brooklyn Public Library, Sidney Public Library, Stroud Water Research Center. Trekkers were trained by Bob Caputo, a photographer with over 30 years of experience with National Geographic, on how to take pictures that tell a story.
The photography and journal exhibit was funded by: Catskill Watershed Corporation; New York Department of Environmental Conservation; New York City Department of Environmental Protection; Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation
- Breakey, P. (2008, March 1). On the Bright Side: Exhibit Details Students’ Trek. The Daily Star.
- (2007, July 25). Follow the trek of students tracing NY water supply. NAAEE weekly news email.
- (2007, August 2-8). From mountaintop to city. The Gazette.
- (2007, July 19). Journal trekking our Central Catskills. The Phoenicia Times, 7(14), p. 11.
- (2007, July 19). Journal trekking our Central Catskills. The Olive Press, 5(14), p. 11.
- (2007, Autumn). Trek teaches students about nature, water, and themselves. The Watershed Advocate: News from the Catskill Watershed Corporation, p. 4.
- (2007, July 27-29). Walking the path of drinking water. New York Metro, p. 4.
- Bennett, A. & Olney, C. (2007, August 2). On the trail. The Phoenicia Times, 7(15), p. 23.
- Boshnack, M. (2007, June 26). On the bright side: Sidney students to walk to NYC for watershed. The Daily Star.
- Cho, R. (2007, July 11). The Great River Row. Westchester Parent Magazine.
- Collins, T. (2007, July). Mountaintops to tap. Catskill Mountain Region Guide, p. 87-88.
- D’Andrea, T. (2007, Spring). City and rural kids to follow drinking water from source to tap. Riverkeeper, p. 30.
- Epstein, M. (2007, July 28). 150-mile trek traces water supply for NYC. The Journal News, p.10A.
- Epstein, M. (2007, July 28). Teen trek through Westchester on 150-mile environmental hike. The Journal News. (formerly at: http://www.topix.net/city/sidney-ny/2007/07/teens-trek-through-westchester-on-150-mile-environmental-hike)
- Matthiessen, A. (2007, July 16). Providing safe drinking water requires vigilance. The Journal News, p. 6B.
- Mayer, F. (2007, July 26-August 1). Students follow water’s path from mountains to city. The River Reporter – online, 33(30).
- Newman, J. (2007, July). Riverkeeper spotlights students’ 200-mile summer trek across New York City water supply from “Mountaintop to Tap” trek. Riverkeeper Media Advisory via Green Media Toolshed.
McFarland, A. (2007, August 9). Summer Vacation with a Lesson. WABC News in New York City.
- American Rivers: Following New York City’s Water. The River Blog.
- Catskill Watershed Corporation: (April 30, 2007) 27 Watershed Education grants awarded.
- Epstein, M. (2007, July 28). Teens to complete drinking-water hike today.
- NAAEE: Follow the Trek of Students Tracing NY Water Supply.
- NYC DEP: Students Embark on Three-week watershed trek.
- Risinit, M. (2007, July 16). Walking the watershed. LoHudson.com – The Nature of Things Blog.
- The Trust for Public Land. Students trace NYC water supply. (2007, July).