The following guide provides a full listing of grades 6-8 education programs provided to schools and institutions. Many of the descriptions note which New York State Standards are addressed in the program. All of our top quality programs can be customized for presentation at your location unless otherwise indicated. For grades 6-8 programs, this includes student clubs, large groups, assemblies, and scout troops.

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GRADES 6-8

Animal Adaptations – Year-round
Animals possess a variety of instinctual behaviors that help them survive in their environments. Through classroom discussions and an outdoor hike, students will investigate how local wildlife uses physical and behavioral adaptations such as camouflage and hibernation to survive in the natural world. We will also talk about the challenges our local species encounter through loss of habitat and climate change. Also available as an outreach program-Meet The Animals.

Birds of Prey/Avian Ecology – Year-round
These magnificent creatures capture the minds of all as they soar, swoop and dive. Students will explore the differences between raptors and other birds using our live animals and museum artifacts. At the outdoor Birds of Prey House, students will observe first-hand the physiology and adaptations that enable these animals to survive. An investigation of raptors, including the dissection of an owl pellet, provides insight into “specialization” and what life is like near the top of the food chain. Material fee of $20 per class. Offered at the Nature Center only.

Orienteering – Year-round
Smart phones and GPS are helpful, but knowing your way around a map (literally) is a must. Geared up with a map and compass, students will learn map reading and appreciation skills, develop an awareness of the geography of the New York, and examine the relationship and interaction between the natural environment and humans. Using their newly developed skills, students will be challenged to navigate their way along an outdoor orienteering course. Offered at the Nature Center only.

Recycling: Where Does All the Garbage Go? – Year-round
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Conserving our natural resources is the ultimate goal of the 3R concept. This program empowers children to take small steps that can have a big collective impact on our environment, our economy and our wildlife. Students will play Trash Mountain, a waste management game that demonstrates how much and what kinds of waste we generate, and focuses on opportunities for reusing or recycling. In addition, students will learn how our community currently disposes of waste and will consider how humans can make better choices to fit into nature’s system of interconnected cycles. Also offered at your location, this program can be customized to address recycling and composting opportunities in your school or organization. Also available as an outreach program.

Aquatic Ecology/Watersheds – April through June
An abundance of life and activity exists in seemingly quiet bodies of water. In this hands-on exploration, students will use a variety of tools to discover aquatic ecosystems and learn to identify macro-invertebrates. They will learn about the interrelationships between plants and animals and the adaptations of each. This program is designed to create an understanding of a pond’s balance of life and its importance as a contributor to a healthy watershed. Teachers may choose for students to conduct water tests (pH, temperature, turbidity). Offered at the Nature Center only.

Bees – April through October
Expanding on the bee programs we offer for younger audiences, this program is designed to dive deep into the often mysterious and truly wondrous lives of the honey bee. Students will get a chance to visit with one of our local super organisms and see some of our six legged friends at work. We’ll learn just how important these tiny workers are and why their health could decide what foods end up on our dinner plates. What is a super organism? Do bees really communicate by dancing? Is every honey bee you see on a flower really a girl? These questions and more will be answered as we take you on a journey into the world of the honey bee! Also available as an outreach program.

Forest Ecology – April through October
Northeastern forests have come to play an important role in global carbon sequestration. Students will learn about the role of forests in creating climate and stabilizing our ecology. Through observations of the relationship between what’s going on in the forest floor, in the understory and in the canopy, students will discover how forests are responding to the challenges of climate change and development, and how humans can best support forests in mitigation of the effects of climate change. Offered at the Nature Center only.

Native Americans: Living off the Land – Year-round
In our 60 or 90 minute program, students will experience a day in the life of Northeast Woodlands Native Americans who inhabited our land 6000 years ago. Visiting our full-scale replica longhouse, wigwam, and canoe, students’ imaginations will soar as they learn how indigenous peoples met their needs for food, shelter, medicine, family and community. Together we explore daily behaviors in and around the longhouse, covering the roles that men, women, children, and elders carried out in the community. We hike along the same paths and trails that the local Eastern Woodland Indians hiked years ago and students learn about the Native Americans’ hunting and gathering techniques as well as their incredible knowledge of local plants, animals and the land. Offered at the Nature Center only.

Native American Tools & Toys – Year-round
Experimenting with replicated artifacts including stone axes, arrowheads, and mortar and pestle, students will be fascinated by some of the ways in which Native Americans living in the Westchester area provided for themselves. And students will try their hand at some of the toys Native American children used for play as well as to practice skills critical to their survival.

Bugs and Insects – May through October
Join us on this invertebrate safari and compare the life cycles of insects to our own bodies. Learn how humans depend on bugs and insects and explore their critical role in every ecosystem on earth. Students will discover the astounding diversity of these creepy crawlers and learn about the many adaptations they utilize for survival. Meet some of our live insects and then venture outdoors through varied landscapes to observe them in their natural habitat. Offered at the Nature Center only.

Composting & the Magic of Decomposition – April through October
Through exciting, hands-on investigation of different methods of composting, students will experience nature’s great drama of decomposition. They will explore how water, air, bacteria, fungi, and macroinvertebrates all work together to recycle organic matter into the nutrient-rich soil-enhancer we call “compost.” And they’ll learn how humans optimize conditions for efficient decomposition through process control. Offered at the Nature Center only. Outdoors rain or shine.

Winter Birds/Avian Ecology – December through March
Birds have become the “canaries in the coal mine” for our planet in the face of climate change. Through close encounters with a variety of birds from among our resident animals, students will be introduced to the basics of avian anatomy. They will learn how to identify some of our common winter residents, why some birds migrate, how others adapt to winter life, and how birds are responding to changes in our climate.

Maple Sugaring – February through March
Students will travel back in time to discover the history of maple sugaring with several stops along the way. Native American, colonial, and some modern-day techniques are demonstrated at our outdoor sugaring sites. Challenges faced by maple trees and the maple industry in response to climate change will be examined. Students can also challenge their taste buds as they try to determine the difference between corn syrup and the “real deal” 100% maple syrup. Offered at the Nature Center only.

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