Water Academy is a college-level course designed to introduce the community to environmental issues and proactive solutions currently being implemented in the Niagara River watershed. This program builds upon the success of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s River Academy program, offering a more extensive range of learning opportunities through unique partnerships with local non-profit organizations, including the Western New York Land Conservancy and the Buffalo Audubon Society. Guest lecturers may include representatives from governmental agencies, community organizations and the private sector. Additional educational partners include Cradle Beach Camp, Earth Spirit Educational Services, Friends of Reinstein Woods, the Nature Sanctuary Society, and People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo).

Class topics may include:

  • Scajaquada Creek Snowshoe Tour
  • Native Perspectives on the Niagara River Watershed
  • Great Lakes Aquatic Invaders
  • Niagara River Important Bird Area
  • Love’s Canal
  • Sewage and You
  • Living Infrastructure for Water Quality: Business and Communities
  • Land Trusts in Conservation Strategy: Saving Unique Places
  • Riparian Buffers in our Watershed
  • Teaching Citizens to Value Headwater Forests
  • Land Trusts in Conservation Strategy: Restoring Habitats
  • Unique Habitats of the Niagara River Watershed

Please note that this is a draft lineup. Some sessions may change prior to the start of class.

Dates, times, and locations: Spring Semester Water Academy will take place on Wednesday from 2:30-4:20PM, January 18th to May 10th, 2017. Sessions will be held at the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper office (721 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203), the East Hill Foundation (17 Island Street, North Tonawanda, NY 14120), and various field locations. Visit back for information about Fall Semester Water Academy.

College Course Credit: Riverkeeper has partnered with Erie Community College (ECC)  to provide this program, so that course credits are available to participating students.  ECC course credits are fully transferable to most SUNY schools. The course is listed as PH 122 Sec 02 and PH 123 Sec 02 and to register for course credit, visit www.ecc.edu.

Non-Course Credit: River Academy is also open to the public for non-course credit.  Tuition for a full semester is $150.00, and per class tuition is $25.00. There are a limited number of need-based scholarships available.  To register for the course, please fill out the Water Academy Registration form.  If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please contact Robbyn Drake, at rdrake@bnriverkeeper.org.

Deadlines: Scholarship registration is open until Monday, January 16th. Class registration is open until Monday, January 16th.

Questions about the course? Need more information before you register? Please contact Robbyn Drake at rdrake@bnriverkeeper.org or 852-7483 ext 12.


Teachers, home schooling families and after school educators: Are you interested in learning more about River Academy and how you can implement it in your classroom? Our lesson plans are available for download here:

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)