Inspiring the Next Generation of Scientists and Environmental Stewards
What is the 4-H2O Education Program?
Through our 4-H2O program, CSI aims to foster and support the next generation of scientists and environmental stewards through hands-on water science and engaging activities that allow children to “dip their toes” into the world of water.
The 4-H2O program started as a collaborative relationship with the Tompkins County 4-H youth education organization in 2006. In 2016, 4-H2O transitioned from a club format to a project based format allowingall children to participate regardless of their affiliation with 4-H. Each 4-H2O activity is presented in a way that makes scientific topics approachable and engaging for children and adults with any level of experience or interest.
What age group can participate?
The target age for programming is 6-14 and kids from elementary through high school are welcome to participate. Youth under 7 must be accompanied by an adult.
Looking for fun and educational activities this summer? Check out our upcoming programs!
Date: June 12, 2021 Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Location: Salt Point Natural Area in Lansing
Date: July 8, 2021 Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM Location: North Point at Taughannock Falls State Park
Date: September 4, 2021 Time: 1:00 – 3:00 PM Location: Stewart Park (near the pavilion and floating dock)
Reservations are highly recommended but not required.
Microscopic organisms called cyanobacteria have been causing harmful algal blooms (HABs) and swimming beach closures in Cayuga Lake over the past few years. Though they may get a bad reputation for this, cyanobacteria have been around much longer than the lake itself and are one of the oldest life forms on Earth. In recent years they have been baffling lifeguards and scientists alike as we all try to figure out why, where and when they will appear next. Stop by our field research lab this summer to learn more about these fascinating life forms and how to recognize them so that you can keep yourselves and your pets safe. At our field lab you can help CSI staff collect and look at live plankton found in samples collected from the lake. We’ll explore many different types of plankton found in Cayuga Lake and learn what cyanobacteria look like both from the lake shore and through a microscope. At each workshop we’ll provide kid-friendly presentations and activities for you to learn about the fascinating ecology of cyanobacteria and their role in Cayuga’s diverse aquatic community. We’ll also provide information about our ongoing Cayuga Lake HABs Monitoring Program and how you can get involved!
COVID-19 Safety Precautions: All participants must practice social distancing. Face masks are required.
Biomonitoring Fun at Upper Buttermilk Falls State Park
Date: July 22, 2021 Time: 6:00 – 7:30 PM Location: Upper Buttermilk Falls State Park
Date: August 12, 2021 Time: 6:00 – 7:00 PM Location: Upper Robert H. Treman State Park
Date: September 25, 2021 Time: 1:00 – 2:00 PM Location: Lower Buttermilk Falls State Park
Reservations are required at least two days in advance. More information and directions will be provided when you sign up.
Who lives under the rocks in streams and what can these organisms tell us about water quality? Join the Community Science Institute (CSI) for an evening or afternoon at one of our scenic local State Parks as we explore the aquatic life that can be found in the creek and collect a sample of organisms that will be used to evaluate water quality and ecosystem health. This event is meant for the whole family and is interactive. Participants will help us wade through the creek to find organisms under rocks for everyone to look at under magnification. Learn to identify what you find and what these organisms indicate about how healthy a stream is. Those who are interested in following the scientific protocols for collecting an official sample (that will be analyzed and the results of which will be included in CSI’s long-term datasets of water quality) can help collect the sample and complete a physical survey of the stream. Bring a picnic dinner or lunch along, if you’d like!
COVID-19 Safety Precautions: Participants will be asked to practice social distancing. Face masks are required. If you are interested in participating, you will need to reserve a spot for each family member in advance.
Water Quality Cruise on Cayuga Lake
Date: July 11, 2021 Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Date: August 22, 2021 Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Date: September 12, 2021 Time: 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Reservations are required at least three days in advance. Cruises aboard the Floating Classroom will depart from the Allen H. Treman Marina at 800 Taughannock Blvd. Ithaca, NY. Please arrive 15 minutes before the departure time for check in. If you need to cancel your reservation please do so at least one day in advance.
Sail Ho! Join the Community Science Institute on an exploration of Cayuga Lake aboard the Floating Classroom. For the 16th year running, CSI’s 4-H2O Program will be partnering with Discover Cayuga Lake’s Floating Classroom to collect and analyze water samples from Cayuga Lake. Participants will learn how to collect water samples using a Van Dorn sampler and will analyze them while aboard the Floating Classroom’s boat, the MV Teal. Data collected by participants will be included in CSI’s online water quality database, helping to better our collective understanding of the health of Cayuga Lake!
This is a great opportunity for all ages to participate in local water quality science! Space is limited to 40 participants, so sign up while there is still time!
COVID-19 Safety Precautions: We are limiting the number of participants in this program to 40. At this capacity, social distancing can and will be followed on the boat. Face masks are required. All surfaces will be routinely disinfected. If you are interested in participating, you will need to reserve a spot for each family member in advance.