last updated: 11/18/16


WFIT 2017 is for 6-12th grade teachers. Download and complete your application today. Deadline for submissions is Friday, May 5, 2017


WHO: 6-12th grade teachers, non-formal educators and past WFIT participants who teach 6-12th grade students in New York City and the NYC Watershed (Catskills, Delaware and Croton regions).

– To see if you’re eligible, click here and find your location on the map.
– Teachers from the same team or school are strongly encouraged to apply.

WHAT: 5 days + 4 nights to:

– Earn over 40 Professional Development hours.
– Practice over 20 hands-on lessons about watersheds and forestry.
– Receive and get trained in Project Learning Tree and Project WET curricula.
– Go on field trips to discover first-hand how well-managed forests and farms protect water quality in the NYC Watershed.
– Learn from a variety of professionals and join an active community of practice of watershed educators.

WHEN: Sunday, July 23 – Thursday, July 27

– Registration: 10-11am on Sunday, July 23
– Departure: 1pm on Thursday, July 27

WHERE: Taconic Outdoor Education Center, Fahnestock State Park, Cold Spring, NY

– Click here for TOEC map.


– Meals, lodging and teaching resources provided free of charge.
– Funding provided by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Forest Service.

HOW: Apply to the 2017 WFIT today:

Email or fax your completed application to:wfit_app_download

Tyler Van Fleet
Watershed Educator
Watershed Agricultural Council
Fax: (914) 962-5436


CONTACT: For more information, call or email Tyler Van Fleet, Watershed Educator, at (914) 962-6355 ext. 21.


WFIT Mission
Deadlines and Cancellation Policy
Teacher’s Commitment
Learning Objectives
Institute Highlights
Location for WFIT 2017
Professional Development Credits
Teacher & Administrator Testimonials
WFIT History


The Watershed Forestry Institute for Teachers (WFIT) is a FREE 5-day, 4-night professional development educational program that immerses teachers in a hands-on study of New York City Watershed forestry, water quality science, and drinking water supply systems.

The mission of WFIT is to provide educators with the knowledge, inspiration and practices necessary to explore the connection between upstate watershed forests and downstate water quality with their students. Topics include water quality science, forest ecology and stewardship, sustainable development, engineering, New York history and community engagement.

Participation in the WFIT is also a pre-requisite for applying to WAC’s Green Connections program, which supports year-long partnerships between NYC and upstate watershed classrooms. The program involves a flexible 8-lesson curriculum, student pen pal exchanges, two shared field trips, and classroom visits.


For WFIT 2017, eligible applicants are 6-12th grade teachers from public and private schools, non-formal educators, and past WFIT participants who teach 6-12th grade students in New York City and the NYC Watershed (Catskills/Delaware/Croton regions).

– To see if you’re eligible, click here and find your school’s location on the map.

Teachers from the same teaching team or school are strongly encouraged to apply.


Participation is limited to 25 teachers.

If a confirmed participant must cancel their participation, we ask that they do so at least 30 days prior to the Institute so that an alternate applicant may be invited to attend in their place.


All WFIT participants must commit to the following:

1) Stay on-site and attend the entire summer Institute program;
2) Develop and implement an Action Plan for incorporating select WFIT content into their 2017/18 teaching curriculum;
3) Share WFIT information with colleagues.


1) Investigate the environmental and social dimensions of forestry, water quality, and the drinking water supply system through visits to NYC Watershed forests, farms, water supply and environmental education sites.
2) Engage in active learning experiences to increase awareness and enrich personal content knowledge about the connections between forests, water quality and people.
3) Practice, discuss and share a variety of curricula that can be used to advance effective teaching and learning about forestry and the NYC Watershed in 6th-12th grade classrooms.
4) Develop an Action Plan for incorporating select WFIT content into your 2017/18 curriculum. Include in the action plan systems of support and accountability.


– Discover NYC Watershed lands, waters, engineering and communities through presentations and field trips. Field trip sites may include: Sustainably managed Model Forests, portable saw mills, watershed rivers, streams, and farms, NYC drinking water reservoirs, waste water treatment plants, and environmental education centers.
Practice over 20 hands-on lessons.
Get trained in Project Learning Tree and Project WET curricula, which are aligned to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.
Receive heaps of reference materials about NYC watershed forestry topics for use with students.
Join a growing community of practice of watershed educators from around the NYC Watershed region.
Learn about other watershed-related education programs, such as the Green Connections ProgramWatershed Forestry Bus Tour GrantsTrees for Tribs tree plantings, NYC-DEP education programs, Catskills Watershed Corporation Education Grants, Trout in the Classroom, US Forest Service conservation education programs and more!


WFIT 2017 will be held at the Taconic Outdoor Education Center (TOEC) located within Fahnestock State Park in Cold Spring, NY.

– Click here to visit the TOEC website
– Click here to view a pdf brochure about TOEC
Click here to watch a video of Fahnestock State Park created by Friends of Fahnestock & Hudson Highlands.

Meeting spaces:
WFIT group sessions are held in the Highland Lodge and surrounding outdoor spaces. The Lodge has a large stone fireplace, dining and meeting rooms, and a rustic lounge.

WFIT participants stay in comfortable, rustic cabins. Each cabin has a common room, several bedrooms and an accessible bathroom with shower. Typically, 2 adults stay in each bedroom.

Healthy, seasonal meals are prepared for WFIT participants by TOEC staff. Most special dietary needs can be accommodated. Please indicate any special dietary needs on your application.
Lunch and dinner (but no breakfast) is provided on the first day. Breakfast and lunch are provided on the last day before departure.

Wireless Internet (WiFi):
WiFi is available in the Highland Lodge but not in the cabins.


Earn approximately 40 hours of professional development credit, depending on your school’s requirements. Contact your school administrator for more information. WAC staff will provide a certificate of completed professional development hours. No college credits are available at this time.


– “I do a lot of PDs and this is one of the best, most organized, informative and inspiring I have ever done.” – 2016 WFIT Teacher
– “I know so much more about forestry and water now. Not only will I apply it to my everyday life, but I’m also going to pass it onto my students. I feel incredibly educated and informed.” – 2015 WFIT Teacher
– “I can’t wait to talk to our science teachers and all the teachers in my school about how to incorporate themes I’ve learned across curricula and across grades.” – 2014 WFIT Teacher
– “My students now appreciate their water and know the journey it takes to get to NYC from the watershed lands”. – Teacher
– “WFIT strengthened my appreciation of nature and the importance of getting my kids out in nature to ensure they become stewards of our local environment and the planet”. – Teacher
– “I see how our students benefit from our teachers’ participation in WFIT. Kids come back after graduating still talking about their watershed experiences, so I support it 100%”. – Principal
– “WFIT helps me share best practices with other teachers in urban and rural areas”. – Teacher


The WAC Forestry Program – in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) and the USDA Forest Service – has developed a comprehensive approach to reaching teachers and students in the rural and urban communities that comprise the New York City watershed. This approach is characterized by four core efforts where information regarding forest stewardship and water quality is communicated. The Watershed Forestry Institute for Teachers (WFIT) forms the foundation of this approach by providing teachers with educational resources for use in their home classrooms.

The Watershed Forestry Institute for Teachers (WFIT) began in 1999 as a partnership between The Watershed Forestry Program of the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC), the Catskill Forest Association, the USDA Forest Service, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP).

NYC DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.4 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester counties. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts.

DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $68 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, NYC DEP has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and educational opportunities like the Watershed Forestry Institute for Teachers. In addition, NYC DEP has a robust capital program with over $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.