Using our River as a Living Laboratory

"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum, Senegalese environmentalist

The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) is bringing impactful place-based learning opportunities to student groups through our new environmental education program. We partner with groups such as Breakthrough Greater Boston and Open Circle Alternative High School to bring unique educational programs to underserved communities in the watershed. 

In our latest session with Breakthrough Greater Boston–Cambridge Campus, students created models of natural systems for cleaning water and performed four different water quality tests.  Though one of the hottest days of the summer these 8th graders never lost interest! Their summer chemistry program combined with field experience linked the classroom curriculum to a real world and local experience. Shoko Fox, Director of Teaching, Learning, and Evaluation at Breakthrough Greater Boston noted, "our kids, despite the heat, had a great time and liked being able to apply their learning in class to a real life scenario!"

Marian Miller, our Education Program Manager, joined MyRWA in the spring of 2018 and has since partnered with over fifteen school groups and organizations to facilitate educational programming. Programs are structured so that students are first exposed to environmental concepts in the classroom, aligning with science standards, and then are able to have first-hand field experiences within the watershed cementing the learning objectives.

“Our goal is to provide quality, hands-on opportunities in nature to enrich learning and inspire life-long watershed stewards. We know first-hand field experiences strengthen classroom learning and provide a link to local and relevant application of skills and ideas”, says Marian. These hands-on programs lead to greater understanding of the importance of clean water to all living things, and leave lasting impacts.

MyRWA’s spring programs focused on the spectacular river herring migration in the Mystic River and brought students to the Mystic Lakes Dam. Fall programs will transition to stormwater pollution education with the first programs taking place this month. If you would like to bring a program to your school or organization, please contact Marian Miller at