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School Field Studies (4.5 hours)


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Overview  •  Program ComponentsProgram DescriptionsFees

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RiverQuest is a non-profit science and environmental education organization that operates a river-based learning center for students, teachers and the community in the Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia tri-state area. All RiverQuest programs are adventure-based, discovery programs that engage students in hands-on learning activities held onboard a vessel and on shore. We offer comprehensive standards-based programs, field trips, interactive classroom presentations and professional development for teachers.

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1. Teacher-Training Workshops:

Teachers who enroll their students in a Field Study participate in a one or two-day orientation and training workshop. These workshops provide teachers with an introduction to the content of the module they will be presenting to their students and demonstrate how to effectively use RiverQuest's resource materials. The cost of the teacher workshop for school teachers not bringing a group is $20.  Act 48 hours are available; state-issued ID numbers are now required (social security numbers are no longer used for Act 48 hours reporting.)

2. Classroom Program:

Students work with their classroom teacher on an introduction to topics that they will explore on board. To assist them in their classroom work, teachers are provided with a three-week usage of a Captain's Chest, a trunk of specially selected resource materials.

3. Field Study:

The Field Study takes place aboard EXPLORER, a fully equipped state of the art laboratory/passenger vessel. We maintain a ratio of one RiverQuest educator to 10-12 students. Classroom teachers and chaperones are required to maintain their role as leaders of the classroom, and to stay engaged with students at all times. RiverQuest Field Studies are 4.5 hours in duration, including a 30-minute lunch period.

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Environmental Science on the Three Rivers (ES)

Our flagship "ES" program is adaptable for students in grades 4 through 12 and focuses on river ecosystems. During the Field Study, students become junior scientists for the day as they travel the three rivers analyzing chemical and physical water quality indicators, studying macro and micro invertebrates, and identifying birds and native fish species. Students learn about each element of the river ecosystem and how these elements are interconnected.

The program is linked to PA Environment & Ecology and Science & Technology education standards, and can be used to enhance existing school curriculum. The program manual and onboard Field Study include activities and lessons in biology, chemistry, ecology and watersheds.  Availability is still to be determined.

Click here for the Environmental Science page.


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The fee to participate in a RiverQuest School Field Study, which includes all of the components outlined above, depends on the school district's state aid ratio and/or free and reduced lunch data, and scholarship availability. Current Program Fee Information may be found by calling RiverQuest at 412-231-2712. Fees are also listed on reservation forms distributed seasonally to schools.

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The cost to present RiverQuest's school program is significantly higher than the fee charged. Fees charged to schools currently represent approximately one-third of the total cost of program delivery. Local foundations, state and federal agencies, corporations and contributions from individuals financially support RiverQuest's School Program, along with proceeds from private charters.


Some scholarships have a time-limit on when they can be offered. School eligibility is sometimes determined by State Aid Ratio and other economic factors. When scholarship funds are available, RiverQuest posts these opportunities prominently.

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RiverQuest is booking now for Fall 2014 programs.  Call 412-231-2712.

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