Education & Outreach

In order to help maintain a healthy watershed, region, and environment, we engage and inform the public through youth programs, community collaborations, and educational workshops.

Interested in working with us?

To inquire about working with us please fill out our event request form.

Recent and Current Partnerships

Hosanna House: We work with Hosanna House in their afterschool program to engage students in educational activities in their outdoor classroom at the Sherwood Center and in lower Frick Park. We draw from a variety of curriculums aimed at sparking young children’s interest in the environments through interactive programming.  This fall we have drawn from Project WET lessons, as well as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bird Sleuth Program. We have also partnered with the organization on a summer camp.

Woodland Hills School District: We will be working in collaboration with the 5th grade teachers and instructional coaches at the Woodland Hills Intermediate School to develop lessons to supplement their science curriculum, specifically their “Landforms” unit. Students will learn about watersheds and wetlands, and their importance in healthy ecosystems. We will draw mostly from the Project WET curriculum. The semester will wrap-up with a service learning field trip to the restoration area in Frick Park to remove invasive plants and litter.

Twin Rivers Intermediate School, McKeesport: In partnership with GTECH, we work with 5th graders at Twin Rivers Intermediate School to help them understand the impact of daily human life on the health of watersheds. Students have become familiar with both point source and non-point source pollution through interactive activities.

Pittsburgh Urban Christian School (PUCS): Every spring, we partner with PUCS during the “Picking Up With PUCS” service day, their annual school-wide fundraiser and environmental clean-up day. We work with students and teachers to clean up litter from the roadside and tend tree pits in Wilkinsburg. We also engage students through classroom visits, including reading environmentally-themed story books.

Students intalling a bug hotel

The Ellis School: In the late spring of 2017, we partnered with The Ellis School to offer a Mini-Course; all upper school students are required to complete one course every May, serving as a capstone for the year. We engaged students through experiential learning activities which included invasive plant removal, planting native plant plugs, installing educational signage, and creating and installing “bug hotels.”

Students observing and documenting water quality


Educational Events

We host several educational community events throughout the year to help keep the public aware, informed, and driven on issues related to healthy ecosystems, green stormwater solutions, and water quality. These include:

Biannual stream sweeps: Every spring and fall, we lead a team of volunteers in removing litter and invasive plants from the Nine Mile Run restoration area in Frick Park.

iMapInvasives and iNaturalist trainings: We teach you how to be a more effective and engaged citizen scientist through the use of these two fantastic apps!

Litter and vacant lot cleanups: We are consistently seeking volunteers to help us clean-up roadsides and vacant lots throughout our watershed and sewershed communities. This is a great activity for any group that wants to make a big difference in a small amount of time. We recently worked with a group of Americorps volunteers to remove litter from a stretch of roadside in Homewood. In just two hours, 22 volunteers removed over 59 bags of trash!

Attendees enjoy coffee at one of our quarterly Water Talks

Quarterly “Water Talks” on a variety of topics: Join us for a beverage and a snack and learn more about the watershed and our efforts to improve it! Previous topics have included sustainable stormwater, urban forestry, rain barrels, and water quality. Visit our events page to find out more.  

Classroom presentations at local universities: We have visited classes at Chatham, the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University to share our knowledge, our success stories, and the lessons we’ve learned. Most recently, NMRWA was fortunate to strengthen our partnership with the University of Pittsburgh through its Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). Two of our staff members worked with graduate students to conduct a triple-bottom-line assesment of the Rosedale Runoff Reduction Program, and visitors from Columbia came to observe various NMRWA green infrastructure projects throughout the watershed. Check out this blog post to learn more. 

International guests from the GSPIA program tour the Nine Mile Run restoration area with NMRWA staff


Past Education & Outreach Projects

In-school presentations: We have given engaging presentations covering non-point source pollution, invasive vs. native plants, and general watershed information to students at Word of God Catholic School, Sacred Heart School, City High, Wilkinsburg Middle & High Schools, The Pittsburgh New School, CAPA High School, Rodef Shalom, St. James School, and others.

Native plant project with the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf: We conducted in-school presentations and two field trips to the Nine Mile Run restoration area for native seed-collection activities and a native planting.

Members from a local Girl Scout troop participate in an educational activity

Watershed education workshops: We ran interactive workshops followed by a design contest for students of the Western Pennslyvania School for the Deaf, Pittsburgh Urban Christian School, and the Word of God Catholic School.

Stream clean-ups with college students: We recruited volunteers from University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Chatham University to educate and engage students as active stewards of the watershed.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, and the Boys and Girls clubs of Wilkinsburg: We conducted interactive in-class presentations and field trips to the restoration area with local youth organizations.

Volunteer work days: We organized volunteers from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple Sinai and mobilized them in a variety of ways, including invasive plant removal, tree plantings, willow wall constructing, rogue trail closures, litter clean up, and many other activities.

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