River Summer is an ongoing project of the Environmental Consortium.

A Journey of Discovery: River Summer

River Summer's mission and curriculum directly result from the needs and deliberations of Consortium institutions . Through participation in River Summer, like-minded faculty are coming together in a quasi "College of the Hudson Valley" to create cooperative education and research opportunities that are more ambitious and sophisticated than individual schools can accomplish alone. River Summer uses team teaching and participation among institutions that are geographically and ethnically diverse, with faculty who have access to a wide range of resources - from research universities to liberal arts and community colleges.

During the program, educators take turns being students and teachers, learning and exploring new disciplines. Through River Summer, the Hudson Valley becomes an extended laboratory and classroom, where faculty members can gain new resources to enrich teaching at their home institutions.

Development of this program has already built community and continues to promote collaborative relationships amongst faculty from diverse institutions. The program continues to grow a cohort of faculty throughout the Hudson Valley with like interests and a common experience. River Summer provides a sense of place to faculty and will spark new enthusiasm and ideas into their courses and research, through the use of the Hudson region as a common learning laboratory.

Field and Place-Based Experience

Using the geology, hydrology, and landscape of the River as a foundation, River Summer focuses on understanding the Hudson's natural resources within the context of its cultural history. River Summer's day-to-day program was created to integrate field/place-based experiences with cognitive and meta-cognitive research showing that people learn best when they take control of their own learning. It provides resources from which participants will draw in reconsidering teaching at their home institutions.

River Summer pedagogy is based on the principles of cognitive psychology and immersive field-, place- and inquiry-based learning. Field programs have been found to provide memorable, transformative experiences for undergraduate students, and our experience with past River Summer years suggests it is equally effective with faculty. Using local resources and landscapes develops an understanding of the environment in which one works and lives, providing greater accessibility and deeper meaning. For faculty, proximity to the areas being studied also allows them to be developed into field visits in their own curriculum. The cognitive strategies of reviewing often, generating information actively, spacing learning sessions and including challenging or difficult materials will play central roles in the River Summer experience. (Son, et al. A metacognitive pedagogy: The River Summer Project)

Program for 2011 - Perspectives on Climate and the Hudson River: A Look at the Past, Present and Future

The Psychology of Climate Change CommunicationRiver Summer, in its 7th summer, continues to provide exciting field based interdisciplinary learning opportunities for faculty of the Environmental Consortium. The 2011 program will focus conversations and activities around climate. Climate continues to gain recognition in our conversations, communities and curriculum and thus seems a natural catalyst for our summer plans.

Along with other readings, participants in River Summer 2011 will be reading The Psychology of Climate Change Communication, published by the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University. The guide is available in its entirety on the Center's website.

2011 Itinerary       2011 Reading List      The Psychology of Climate Change Communication

Program for 2010 - Navigating Sustainability: The Hudson & Beyond

2010 Itinerary

Sustainability, green thinking and smart planning has become a driving energy at a local, regional and even a national level. River Summer 2010 will tackle the ‘big concepts’ behind that energy: Politics, Economics, Ethics, Social Structure & Processes, the Natural World and Technology and examine how each plays into our decisions and behaviors, with field time focused on how this plays out in our local communities.

The program focuses on field based learning and active participation by the members. Educators take turns being students and teachers, learning and exploring new disciplines.

RS 2010 will take place in the month of July with three boat based modules. On the river we will be operating from Stony Brook University's 80’ research vessel

Within each module, and across the program, teachers and students will be involved in activities that will address inter-related content areas.

Module 1: July 8-12 - New York City & Its Waterways
Module 2: July 13-17 - M id Hudson Region
Module 3: July 19-23 - Kingston and the Catskills
To begin the summer planning for River Summer 2010, the Environmental Consortium co-hosted a panel with the Earth Institute of Columbia University at Barnard College of April 15, 2010.

Archived Event Webcast
   /   Event Program


Through River Summer, the Hudson Valley will become an extended laboratory and classroom to investigate the development of the watershed within an interdisciplinary framework.

For further information about River Summer, contact: Margie Turrin at mkt@ldeo.columbia.edu or Tim Kenna at tkenna@ldeo.columbia.edu.

For more information about the Environmental Consortium's programs, contact Michelle Land at mland@law.pace.edu.