NYC H2O’s mission is to educate and inspire New York’s citizenry about its incredible water system. We want to create a generation of concerned, educated New Yorkers who conserve and advocate for natural resources. We empower citizens including students and teachers to think about the role of water in their lives so that they don’t take water for granted and can knowledgeably be involved with responsible public policy in the future.
Although NYC H2O received its 501(c)(3) designation in May, 2012, it began offering education programs in 2009 to adults and school groups. Over the last six years we have offered 100 educational programs focused on NYC’s water system and ecology to a combined audience of 3,500 people. This audience has included dozens of engineers, city planners, and professors, attesting to the quality and informational rigor of the programs. Events have included bike, walking and reservoir tours in NYC, hikes upstate, paddling in the Catskill watershed, public lectures on infrastructure and water conservation, sewage plant tours, and beach cleanups. During paddles and hikes, NYC residents get to see and touch one of the actual sources of their water.
We began offering the Reservoir Field Trips for School Groups Program in 2014 for students from second grade to high school. In 2014, the first year of reservoir trips we gave 50 tours reaching 1,200 students. In 2015, we gave 95 tours reaching 2,400 students, 90% of whom were for Title I Schools. We have found that adults and children alike are deeply touched by participating in our activities; resulting teacher interest and word of mouth have rapidly expanded the demand for our school tours. Our goal in 2016 is to offer 120 tours reaching 3,200 students.
NYC H2O has an extensive network of experts in the field of engineering, history, geography and city planning with whom we work. Our partnerships connect us to a vast base of knowledge about the water system and the latest developments to the city’s infrastructure, keeping our programs up-to-date. Furthermore, many of the people who attend NYC H2O programs are engineers and city planners which allows us to further extend our network. Not least, NYC H2O has reached out to over NYC 2,000 teachers, enabling us to effectively market tours to schools.
Matthew Malina founded NYC H2O in 2009. As Executive Director of NYC H2O, he initiated its tour, lecture, field trip and beach cleanup programs. By 2017, under his leadership, NYC H2O reached over 7400 public school students on 284 Water Ecology and Engineering Field Trips in the five boroughs.
Malina is a native New Yorker and studied engineering at the University of Virginia, graduating with a bachelors and masters in Applied Math. He was a public school math teacher and since 2006, a math tutor.
Malina is a founding member of InTandem, a tandem cycling program that enables blind athletes to ride by pairing them with sighted athletes. He served as its Operations Manager for 3 years.
Under Malina’s leadership, NYC H2O has attracted over 50 experts in engineering, city planning, natural sciences, and public health as well as hundreds of volunteers to participate in a wealth of water related experiential, activist and educational events from reservoir walking and paddle tours, public lectures on infrastructure and water conservation, sewage plant tours, and beach cleanups.
Malina is currently leading NYC H2O in its most ambitious project, the protection and preservation of the Ridgewood Reservoir. H2O drafted and submitted the Historic Register Nomination for the Reservoir, organized community listening meetings and is engaging with city agencies to increase access to the site.
Malina’s keen interest in water partly derives from his past school career as a competitive swimmer and triathlete.
Jonathan Turer, is the Director of Programs and Operations for H2O. Turer is a Brooklyn based tour guide who received his MFA from Goldsmiths College, London. He has been fascinated with the city's water supply ever since he went to summer camp in the Catskill Mountains. He began talking to kids about nature while at Connecticut College, leading tours of the school's arboretum. He studied photography at School of Visual Arts (NYC). He is excited to combine his interest in NYC's infrastructure and history with inspiring children about the natural world.
Inna Guzenfeld, is the Development Manager for H2O. Guzenfeld also works as a project coordinator at the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center and is a historian and consultant to waterfront and water-based organizations. Inna received master’s degrees in historic preservation and urban planning at Pratt Institute. She is a strident advocate for ferry service, the working harbor, and manufacturing.