WRWC brings environmental and science education to all levels of students in the community and especially around the Woony River. Running through the heart of urban Providence, the Woony River is a place where everyone can enjoy nature. However, because of the Woony’s past as a source of power for industry, there are some dangers of which you should be aware. The WRWC wants everyone, especially kids, to use and enjoy the wonderful natural resources adjacent to their homes and schools, but do so safely. We teach everyone the “Dos and Don’ts of the Woonasquatucket,” and hope to continue improving the health of our river by connecting people to nature in meaningful, respectful ways. We now reach over 500 children in grades K-12 each year, and educate them to become Woony River Heroes! Talk to us about bringing our programs to your students today. Learn more here about how to support WRWC’s efforts to continue making future Woony River Heroes!

For more information:
Sara Canuel

Elementary Education

Elementary School

Fish in the Classroom – Elementary School students in grades 3-5 learn science by raising brook trout in their classrooms during the year and then releasing them into the Woony River during a fun filled, day-long celebration on the Woonasquatucket River Greenway. Students observe the brook trout lifecycle – watching them develop from an egg into a swimming fish. In the process, kids gain a passion for science, wildlife and their local watershed through a series of interactive hands-on lessons including:

  • Experimenting with effects of pollution on our storm water and watershed model
  • Building their own dream streams
  • Learning the stages of a fish life cycle through our Lifecycle Tag Game
  • Practicing the Dos and Don’ts of the Woony River in our outdoor classrooms

Fun with Fish – Fish in the Classroom has been so successful that we’ve created an afterschool version called Fun with Fish. This six-week program gives students grades K-5 the opportunity to learn more about the Woony River and what lives in it. We bring the river to them through interactive games, fish observations, and outdoor play.

Middle School Education

Middle School

River Adventurers After School – In its 10th year of success, this catalyst program continues to get middle school youth excited about exploring the environment. Each week, our youth visit the Woony parks and Greenway as a part of this exciting after-school program where they:

  • Learn to identify wildlife
  • Study the history of the river, how it became polluted, and how it’s getting cleaned
  • Become citizen scientists and test the water
  • Complete service projects with WRWC River Rangers
  • Enjoy field trips, such as a kayak adventure at Georgiaville Pond and biking lessons at our Red Shed Bike Shop

The ongoing outdoor activities that make up the River Adventures curriculum teach students to become stewards of their local environment, and to respect and care for nature.

High School

Environmental Leaders – This high school program can take the form of special field trips, or an in-school, year-long program. Our goal is to help high school students become our next community leaders, and to protect and restore environmental assets. Students learn by exploring the parks and river in Providence and beyond. They practice scientific method, learning topics such as:

  • Habitat restoration
  • Native versus invasive plants
  • Water quality testing
  • Urban fish community monitoring

In this year-long course, students learn not only through field trips but through research and taking action; also known as our “Learn One, Do One, Teach One” model. Independent research, or personal projects, help young adults take their learning to the next level and encourage them to delve deeper into subjects that pique their personal interests. When our new leaders teach what they’ve learned to younger students, and present their findings to the public, they truly become environmental leaders.


Dos and Don’ts Community Field Day – This summer activity offers youth from local community centers a day to learn environmental education, play watershed games, paddle the river, and enjoy a healthy barbecue lunch. Community centers are always welcome and often frequent the many local parks to enjoy the summer sun. Field trips, or special lessons, are available from our education team to help youth engage in, and become stewards of, local natural places. Activities include fun games like the fish ladder obstacle course, river herring life cycle tag, and citizen science, where they test and compare the water quality in both urban and rural settings.


New Voices at the Water Table – This is an exciting, new community based project in the Olneyville community for Olneyville residents. Our goals and structure are to help participants navigate environmental issues impacting the community, assess the impacts that feel the most important in the community, and develop a plan to create long term impacts centered around the chosen issues once a month. We’re working with the Office of Sustainability and the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee to build long term relationships and leadership around environmental resilience. Program will begin in January of 2021 and run for eight months, will have virtual and in person learning opportunities, and has the potential to continue longer term for those interested. This project is run entirely thanks to funding from the Environmental Protection Agency: EPA, from their Environmental Education and Collaborative Problem Solving Grants.

Please contact Sara for any community field day inquires, or if you are interest in joining the New Voices at the Water Table program.

A Brief History

The WRWC became an educational resource during the 1990s, in an effort to teach local youth how to safely interact with the Woony River. Not knowing the Woony River held dangerous toxins such as dioxin, neighborhood kids would swim and fish in the river to beat the heat. The WRWC started reaching out to teach kids and their families river safety, first through volunteer Junior River Rangers and later through WRWC staff. The WRWC’s efforts grew, and in 2009, we began our middle school programming in partnership with Providence After School Alliance (PASA). Later, in 2011, we began our elementary level program, “Fish in the Classroom” at Paul Cuffee Lower Elementary. In 2015, the WRWC formally created an education program, expanding it to include “Environmental Leaders”, “Community Field Days” in 2016, and “Fun with Fish” in 2017. What started as a way to keep kids safe has grown to become a way to engage them in their environment.

We have partnered with the following groups to run programs:

  • Fish in the Classroom at William D’Abate Elementary and Paul Cuffee Lower Elementary School
  • Fun with Fish at Kids Klub Inc.
  • Whelan Elementary
  • Greystone Elementary
  • McGuire Elementary School
  • River Adventurers with Providence After School Alliance (PASA) at Delsesto Middle School
  • Environmental Leaders at The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center.

Come see what WRWC Education is all about!