River Academy

Fall 2014 River Academy is now in session: September 6 – December 20

River Academy Spring 2015 Registration Will Open in November!

Have you ever wondered how the Niagara River watershed works?  What animals and plants depend upon our unique stretch of the Great Lakes system?  How much has the River recovered from past abuses, and what are the most pressing current concerns?

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s River Academy is a field based training series that provides an introduction to our Niagara River watershed through Saturday morning classes in stream science.  River Academy will feature Riverkeeper staff and local experts sharing their knowledge of Niagara River hydrology, ecology, contamination and cleanup, land use impacts, restoration project design, green infrastructure solutions, watershed planning, green production and many current issues affecting our watershed. Sessions will include environmental service learning, exploration field trips and hands-on workshops.  All participants will receive a certificate upon graduation.

River Academy provides an exciting opportunity for professionals seeking to deepen their understanding of Niagara watershed issues, students in need of hands-on field experience, teachers seeking professional development, and all other fans of our amazing waterways!

Dates, times and location
Classes are September 6 to December 20, 2014. Classes will be held from 10am-2:30pm on Saturday at the Riverkeeper office (721 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203) and field locations.


  • The Niagara River Watershed: Introductory Paddle
  • Watershed Leadership: Shoreline Clean Up Service Day
  • River Academy Forum: Green Infrastructure for Water Quality
  • Watershed Leadership: Bailey Peninsula Rescue Service Day
  • Native Niagara Seed Collection at Hunter’s Creek Park
  • How to Restore a Hazardous Waste Site
  • River Academy Forum: Green Production for the Future
  • Watershed Leadership: Riparian Restoration Service Day
  • Community Building at the Buffalo Creek Oxbow Wetland
  • Library Resources for Research (Credit Students)
  • River Academy Forum: Rebirth of the Buffalo River
  • Waste Not, Want Not
  • River Academy Forum: Niagara Habitat Strategy
  • Your Turn to Present
    (*This is a draft lineup.  Some sessions may change prior to the start of class.)

Riverkeeper has partnered with Erie County Community (ECC) College to provide this program, so course credits are available to participating students.  ECC course credits are fully transferable to most SUNY schools.

River Academy classes will be held on Saturday mornings at the Riverkeeper office and field locations.

Full, 1-semester program* = $250
Per class tuition = $50
[*A limited number of need-based scholarships are available.]

To register for course credit visit www.ecc.edu and register for PH 122/123, River Academy.

If you do not need course credit fill out this form: River Academy Registration. You will receive a certificate of completion and be recognized at our end of semester picnic!

If you would like to apply for a scholarship: River Academy Scholarship Application

For questions or more information about  River Academy, contact Robbyn Drake at 852-7483 x12 or rdrake@bnriverkeeper.org


Testimonials from past students
I signed up for River Academy because I am interested in entering the Biology field, either through ecology/conservation biology or through  botany. I heard about it through a fellow student who had already taken it, and it wound up being my favorite course that semester. I looked forward to each class, but my favorite was the tour of the  Buffalo Sewage Plant. It was really interesting to see where all the waste goes, and learn that even though we frequently have overflows, that the plant gives off minimal waste, and harvests methane to run the incinerators. The tour guide we had was extremely informative.

- Jo Johnson (Spring 2013)



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