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SPLASH Educational Experience

Educational Groups We Work With


School Grades K-12: Professionally qualified staff will assist teachers and group leaders to develop instructional activities appropriate for all academic subjects and group goals. Assistance will include the development of activities for use both before and after the boat trip. Activities are geared to core curriculum standards. Lesson plans that include a field trip on the steamboat will be available for programs in river ecology, water science and local history. Teachers are encouraged to custom design a biology lesson plan for professional development credit by taking a project WET seminar on the steamboat (see Teacher Prep. below), or adapt one of our pre-packaged activities. Either way, the teacher is the key to success, and will play an active role in the program. Students are encouraged to study the topic before the field trip. They can then carry out experiments on the boat, and further analyze the data back in the classroom. The required ratio of adults to students is 1/5. T

Home school groups: Field trips are an integral part of home schooling. Use the web to find a like-minded sub-set of home schoolers. Then enlist an organizer to put together a steamboat trip as described above for K-12 activities.

Specialized schools: Specially challenged students are welcome on the steamboat with adequate supervision. Call for further discussion.

Youth Groups, Scouts, 4-H Clubs, summer camps, religious groups and more: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Brownies, 4-H clubs and others interested in special topics, such as a particular merit badge or club requirement, should contact us. Ask for our list of steamboat activities that are matched to merit badges. Most trips have a former Scout and 4-H leader on board. The more the merrier, up to 35. Required: 1 adult per 5-10 children, depending on the age level.

College classes: Liberal arts, science or engineering classes are welcome. See the list of topics in Step 2 for ideas, or have your class help us create a new topic as a learning experience! Trips available spring, summer and fall.

Samples Classes


School groups usually divide into three groups, one on each deck, to do small-group activities in rotation. Thus each student participates in 3 activities, each activity being approximately 30 minutes. “Steamboat Technology” is included on every trip. Choose 2 other classes for your trip. A typical trip is “Steamboat Technology”  “What is a Watershed?” and “River Chemistry” make up a trip.

What is a Watershed?
Water Ecology 
(For School Groups, 30 minutes)


Using the onboard Enviroscape model, students can easily see how human activities in the neighborhoods where they live, impact a river which is the source of drinking water for seventeen million people. What are some of the ways we can better protect our Watershed?


River Chemistry
(For School Groups, 30 minutes)


How clean is the water in our watershed? Be a scientist and test it yourself for temperature, oxygen levels, pH balance and turbidity. Using the tools of a scientist, teams of students test the water from the river to determine if our Delaware River is healthy. Combining this information with their observations of Macroinvertebrates and knowledge from the enviroscape, should give participants an understanding of the challenges and successes of the revitalization efforts of the Delaware River. 


Shad Migration & the Environmental History of the Delaware River
(For School Groups, 30 minutes)


Learn about the history of our watershed from the perspective of the “local hero”, the American Shad. Shad may swim up to 2,000 miles each year. Shad also played an important role in the lives of the Lenape and in early history of our nation.

What were the causes of the collapse of the Delaware River Shad fishery in the last century? How did federal legislation, habitat restoration, fishery science and management, and angler groups such as DRSFA help turn the situation around?

See Lewis Island, the last remaining N.J. commercial shad fishery on the non-tidal part of the Delaware River (there once were 5 fisheries in Lambertville-New Hope alone) Draw inspiration from the early environmental activism of founder Fred Lewis. Sail over the deep channel where shad continue their northward migration (and one of the great spots on the river to catch shad)


River Critters (Macroinvertebrates)
(For School groups 30 minutes. When taught on land, 45 minutes or 1.5 hours).


Macroinvertebrates & the health of the Delaware River.  What role do these small animals play in all rivers and streams? Why do scientists use macroinvertebrates as indicators for water quality Students learn to identify these important animals – such as crayfish, scud, pouch snails.


History of Lambertville & New Hope
(For adult groups. 45 minutes)

Starting with the Native Americans who lived here, our local historian relates how the towns’ industrial history has mirrored the history of our nation. Your view of historic Lambertville, from onboard the steamboat, will make your guide’s narration come alive. This resilient town once made wagon wheel spokes, then locomotives, as our nation pushed westward. What other industries rose and fell here? Today, the City is vibrant in art, resplendent with beautiful homes and classy restaurants on tree-lined streets.


History of the New Hope Impressionists
(For adult groups, 1.5 hours)


New Hope and the surrounding area developed an artist colony starting in the late 1890’s. This group was called the New Hope Impressionists and was comprised of 20 to 30 artists. We will discuss why the colony developed here and review the history of this art colony over the following 100 years.

The New Hope Impressionists focused on landscapes and we will discuss how the Delaware River, the New Hope area and the small villages along the river became major focal points for their compositions. These sites in the New Hope area became a major inspiration for the artists. During our cruise we will pass a number of these sites.


History of the Delaware & Raritan Canal
(Taught on land. For school group and adult groups. 45 minutes or 1.5 hrs)


In economic terms, the construction of the D&R canal in the 1830s is comparable to the moonshot of the 1960s. The canal’s purpose in our young nation was to transport coal and other goods to industrial areas. Today it is still important as a water supply system and a corridor for people as well as wildlife. Class begins with a program to discover for what purpose, and how, the canal was built. Students will see actual photos of the steamboats and mule boats that plied the canal at this very spot. Did you know there was once a submarine in this canal? Following the slide program, students take a guided walk along the canal towpath, and visit one of the remaining canal locks. The guided walk along the canal begins and ends near the steamboat.


Beginning Birding
(for School Groups, 30 minutes)

Can you identify some of the commonly seen birds in our section of the Delaware River?  The Delaware River is a minor flyway for migrating birds.
Learn about birds such as the Blue Heron, Cliff Swallows, and Cormorants, and how to properly use binoculars to enjoy them.

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