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Philadelphia, PA
Schuylkill River/Delaware River


Philadelphia Waterborne offers area middle and high school students structured boat-building programs that can be implemented at their schools. Small groups of students meet weekly to build 12-foot long wooden rowboats called Schuylkill skiffs, and jointly explore the design considerations, mathematics, physics, and geometry, and even the cultural history of boats. Philadelphia Waterborne provides all materials and tools, and schools are asked only to provide a workspace and a teacher who can act as a coordinator.  Once construction is completed, the students work with an art teacher to name the boats and paint them in uniquely creative ways. At the end of the program, the students launch and row the completed boats on local rivers together. The boats then become part of a the Community Boating program at Bartram’s Garden, enabling the students to see their accomplishments shared with the broader community.  Since 2013, Philadelphia Waterborne has constructed 35 Schuylkill skiffs, working with approximately 250 Philadelphia students in eight different city schools.


Philadelphia Waterborne’s mission is to positively reinforce students’ school engagement using experiential and project-based educational programming, and to do so by engaging existing cultural arts institutions as partners with the schools in that process.