Charles River Reservation School Programs
This information describes the educational programs offered by the DCR Charles River Rangers. We welcome all schools in Eastern Massachusetts. We especially hope to develop relationships with schools that have easy access to the Charles River for continued study.
Project WET/Project WILD
Fashion a Fish
Why do birds have wings? Why do fish have gills? In this program the students discover how
wildlife has adapted to the environment they live in. Then they use the information to design
their own fish. This program is one hour and is suitable for students in grades 1-5. (An Aquatic
What is a watershed? This program introduces students to the idea of watersheds and how they
work by building a model watershed. We will investigate how water flows through watersheds and
how pollutants can affect them. This program is one hour and is suitable for Grades 5-8. (A Project
Sum of the Parts
Where does water pollution come from? This program introduces the difference between point and
non-point pollution. The activity helps students recognize that we all contribute to pollution and
that we can all reduce pollution. This program is one hour and is suitable for Grades 5-8. (A Project
Exploring the Charles River
Introduction to the Charles River
How long is the Charles River? Where does it begin? How clean is the river? This program will focus
on the many changes to the river, including pollution, and the recent successful efforts to improve
the water quality of the Charles. This program is one hour and is suitable for Grade 3 and up. This
program is one hour and is suitable for 3rd grade and up.
Charles River Basin Boat Tour
Available in May and June only Explore the Charles River Basin up close with the assistance of the
Charles Riverboat Co. The tour is a follow up to the Introduction to the Charles River Boat tours
are available in May and June. This program is one hour and is suitable for 3rd grade and up.
Charles River Dam Tour
Why is this dam one of the most important buildings in Boston? Students will explore the dam and
learn about its main functions; flood control, navigation and fish migration. The tour also focuses
on the dam’s greater role in the human management of the Charles River. The program is one hour
and is suitable for 3rd grade and up.
Meet the Park Ranger
Ever wonder what a park ranger does? This program introduces children into the exciting tworld
of a park ranger does through hands-on activities . Children will become a junior park ranger with
the MDC by attending this program. This program is 30-45 minutes in length and is suitable for
How to Build a Park
Parks are places for fun activities but how hard is it for a community to build a new park? In this
program, the students become members of a town in the process of building a new park. Through
the scenario they will learn the issues involved in building a park, including budgeting and conflicting
user groups. Then as a class they must decide what type of park best suits their community. This
program is one hour long and is suitable for Grades 5-8
Urban Nature Search
Does nature exist in the city? This program focuses on simple observational skills to open students’
eyes to the variety of flauna that co-exist with us in the city. This program is one hour and is
suitable for Grades 3-8.
Dear Teachers: This information describes the school programs offered by the The Division of Urban Parks and Recreation(DCR) harbor islands rangers on George’s Island. School programs are typically offered by reservation in May, June and September.
Program reservations are available by calling 617 -727-7676 Monday through Friday.
Programs are free of charge.
A permit is required for groups 25 or more and costs $3.00.
Please note that George’s Island usually opens in late April or early May. Public ferry service operates once George’s Island opens for the season. Inquiries regarding boat transportation should be made when requesting a permit and making a program reservation.
Begun in 1833 and taking nearly thirty years to complete, Fort Warren was intended to defend Boston Harbor from a sea attack. However, due to its remote location it also served as a federal prison during the Civil War. The fort was garrisoned through the Spanish American War and World War I. Fort Warren was regarrisoned for World War II after over a decade on caretaker status. It was finally decommissioned in 1950.
Tour of Fort Warren
Walking around Fort Warren, students will see areas both inside and outside the fort. Topics discussed include the fort’s design, its use during the Civil War and it’s changing role through World War II. Students will learn the historic importance of the harbor to the defense of our nation’s coastline and the importance of legends and other stories to historic research. Stops include rooms and areas used for living quarters, operations, and artillery. Tour will be tailored to student age level. Teachers desiring a specific emphasis should indicate desire when making their program reservation.
Rebels Amongst the Ranks
A special program that focuses on the basic concepts of the Civil War and Fort Warren’s role as a prison for Confederate POWs and political detainees. Students will explore the differences and similarities between the living conditions of the Confederate prisoners and the Union garrison. Students will become “history detectives” through interactive questions and observations. Towards the end of the program, students will be asked to use their powers of deduction by reading diary entries and letters and answering questions about the people that wrote them.
On the Ocean’s Edge
This program focuses on the harbor environment. Through a series of hands-on activities students will learn about the geologic formation of the harbor and the physical forces that shape it. Students will discuss the importance of the harbor as an “edge community” and explore the intertidal zone for signs of a wide variety of marine life. Students will “learn who dirtied the water” and how changes at the Deer Island Sewage Treatment facility are affecting water quality. Program availability is low-tide dependent.
A study guide is available on Fort Warren that is appropriate for classes planning on taking a Fort Tour program. A separate education packet is available for both the Rebels Amongst the Ranks and On the Ocean’s Edge programs. Please call 617-727-7676 for more information.