From Tap to Source

Students standing by kayaks on the Delaware River

Students from the New Dawn Charter School listening to a water safety talk.

National Park Service

Quick Facts


A Call to Action
Action Item:
Ticket to Ride
Also Promotes:
Next Generation Stewards
Year Accomplished:

Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational Rivers partnered with the non profit organization Outdoor Discovery and the New Dawn Charter School from Brooklyn, NY to offer thirty-eight at-risk high school students the opportunity to spend a two-day camping trip on the Upper Delaware River. For the majority of these students, this was the first time that they left the comfort of the urban environment they grew up in to spend time exploring the Upper Delaware River.  The closest these students came to the waters of the Delaware River was when they turned on their taps at home and took a drink of water. The majority of drinking water for the city of New York comes from the east and west branches of the Upper Delaware River.

The park received regional transportation funding that allowed this program to come to fruition. On the first day of the program the students were outfitted with life jackets and kayaks to paddle on a scenic eight mile stretch of the river. After listening to the water safety talk the students took flight and headed out on the water. As they paddled they saw eagles flying overhead, deer on the shore, fish in the water, and ducks on the surface. They did an outstanding job taking to paddling "like a duck to water!" In the evening, next to the campfire, they learned about wildlife rehabilitation and they enjoyed the traditional campfire favorite: s'mores.  The following day the students were immersed in learning about the Delaware Watershed, bald eagles, forest ecology and wildlife. The students were very inquisitive about all they experienced and learned and were a lot of fun to take on the river. Only three fell into - not bad for new paddlers!!