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Pittsburgh Voyager School Programs


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 Voyager programs are adventure-based, discovery programs that engage students in hands-on learning activities. We offer comprehensive standards-based programs, field trips, interactive classroom presentations and professional development for teachers.

Click here for PDF Files for Permission Form and School Application


RiverQuest's school program experience includes three components:

Teacher-Training Workshops:
Teachers who enroll their students in the school programs participate in a 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 Voyager's classroom manuals and resource materials. The cost of the teacher workshop is $75 plus $25 for Act 48 certification. Workshop fees will be billed separately.

Classroom Program:
Students work through a two to four week classroom program studying topics that they will be exploring onboard. Classroom teachers lead their students through this program prior to and after the onboard experience. To assist them in their classroom work, teachers are equipped with a curriculum manual, a loaned Captain's Chest full of resource materials, and access to Voyager's on-line scientific database.

The onboard experience takes place aboard one of RiverQuest's primary floating classrooms, Voyager and Discovery. Both vessels are fully equipped state of the art laboratories. Five to six trained staff members facilitate instruction and operate the boat. The underway field experience is typically 4.5-hrs. Some schools booking multiple classes are permitted to enroll two, 3-hr. classes in a day.

Sailing Pittsburgh Voyager
Children Driving Pittsburgh Voyager


RiverQuest offers two comprehensive school programs: Environmental Science on the Three Rivers and Boats, Bridges and Water. Programs operate from September to mid-December and from March to mid-June.

Environmental Science on the Three Rivers was created for students in grades 5 through 12 and focuses on river ecosystems. The program is linked to national and state Environment & Ecology and Science & Technology education standards at various academic levels and can be used to enhance existing school curriculum. The program manual and onboard experience include activities and lessons in biology, chemistry, ecology and watersheds. While onboard students become junior scientists for the day as they travel the three rivers analyzing chemical and physical water quality indicators and studying macro and micro invertebrates, birds and native fish species. Students learn about each element of the river ecosystem and how these elements are interconnected.

Boats, Bridges and Water is designed for students in grades 6 through 8 and provides a unique opportunity for teachers and students to experience real world applications of middle school physical science and mathematics principles. The program is linked to national and state science and math standards at various academic levels and can be used to enhance existing school curriculum. An operational vessel becomes the classroom during a field expedition that explores how the natural and built environment impact each other. Students work independently and in small groups at various stations where they study boat operations, bridge engineering, hydrology, geology and meteorology. Onboard students use critical thinking and problem-solving techniques in activities such as: estimating the load capacity of a bridge, using a flow meter and sonar technology to measure river current and depth, charting a course using radar and river charts and monitoring weather conditions. This program focuses on natural and man-made river resources and their relationship with each other.

Fees (Effective until end of school season 6/30/07):
The fee to participate in a Voyager School Program, which includes all of the components outlined above, depends on the school district's state aid ratio and scholarship availability. The fee charged to schools would be $795, $925 or $1075 per block of 30 students for a 4 and 1/2-hr. program. Fees are prorated for schools that are able to book two, 3-hr. programs on one boat in a day (am and pm sessions). The 3-hr. program is offered for Environmental Science On the Three Rivers only and is priced at $1,100, $1,225 or $1,425 for two 3-hr. classes in a day(am session and pm session).

Schools that are able to book 3 blocks of up to 90 students on one day will receive a 10% discount all three blocks for the "boat day".

The cost to present Voyager's school program is significantly higher than the fee charged. Local foundations, state, agencies, corporations and contributions from individuals financially support Voyager's School Program.

Application materials are mailed to school districts in April of each year. Schools can enroll in the program for the fall and spring program season. You can call 412 231-2712 to reserve dates for your class(es). Dates are assigned on a first come, first served basis. In order to confirm a date an application must be received by mail or fax within one week of the phone reservation. Click on the link for address and fax number for RiverQuest's offices.