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RCSD Students Learn Science Lessons Aboard the Riverie Tour Boat on the Genesee River

(June 14, 2024) Friday marked an exciting day for Roberto Clemente School No. 8 students as they rode on a tour boat along the Genesee River to learn about water.  The students boarded the Riverie, Corn Hill Navigation’s tour boat, for an educational experience in environmental science and to access the health of the Genesee River. 

Collaborating with student instructors from Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Rochester, and St. John Fisher University, students conducted water quality and chemistry measurements.  Throughout the 90-minute boat ride, students rotated between three workstations, examining the water's biological, chemical, and physical characteristics. 

“Many of my students have never been to the river or on a boat,” said Stephanie Thompson, Principal of School No. 8.  “A boat ride tied into the rich history of the Genesee River is an incredible experience for students.  I think it is important for students to be connected to their community and its history.”

This opportunity to study the Genesee River was made possible through the generosity of the Rochester Education Foundation’s Smile Program, which supports K – 6 schools throughout the District.  Created by local philanthropist Dave Beck, the Smile Program funds field trips and experiences to provide a well-rounded education and bring smiles to students’ faces. Through this program, students have explored inside a 40-foot replica of a life-sized whale, learned about hot-air balloon operations, and taken simulated trips to Mars. 

Since May 20, students from various schools have participated in these boat tours.  By Thursday, June 20, students from two additional schools, Abelard Reynolds School No. 42, and Rochester International Academy will have also participated, totaling more than 1,500 fifth-graders who will have gone on a total of 71 cruises this school year.    

Corn Hill Waterfront & Navigation Foundation is the 501(c)3 nonprofit operator of the Sam Patch and Riverie Tour Boats with the mission of fostering the improvement and sustainability of the Erie Canal and Genesee River through education, awareness, and enjoyment. The organization engages people of all ages and backgrounds in on-the-water learning experiences, utilizing our region's waterways to make a number of subject areas come to life, including history and culture, the arts, science and technology, and the environment.