Teatown Environmental Science Academy

The mission of the Teatown Environmental Science Academy (TESA) is to provide high school students with meaningful hands-on experience with the theories, tools and techniques scientists use to study today’s pressing conservation issues.

Real World Experience

The Teatown Environmental Science Academy (TESA) is an intensive and challenging field-based summer environmental science program for high school students. TESA provides invaluable experience for students interested in the environment by exposing them to the techniques and technology that scientists use to study today’s pressing conservation issues.

Program Curriculum

The educational curriculum of TESA focuses on blurring the distinction between research and teaching by providing students the opportunity to conduct independent work through laboratory exercises and course projects. Individualized attention from leading scientists further student development by fostering critical thinking and problem solving.  Students in this program receive the knowledge and experience necessary to lead their peers as they develop into the next generation of environmental scientists.

In this course students will:

  • Develop meaningful research questions
  • Design field studies and experiments
  • Collect, analyze, and interpret data
  • Present their findings

TESA is a fee-based program limited to 12 students who will be accepted on a competitive basis. Fees are $1800 for members; $2000 for non-members. Scholarship support is available.

The format of the program will be a mix of lectures, discussions, and field activities.

Each student will also conduct an independent research project and present their findings at a class symposium that will be open to family and friends. Students will be challenged to explore their ideas and ask questions. Additionally, this program will serve as a jumping off point for the development of the independent research projects many of these students will be conducting during the school year, and will be invaluable to students who wish to pursue environmental sciences in their post-secondary education.

Taught by Field Scientists

TESA is co-taught by Hillary Siener, Teatown’s Manager of Science and Stewardship, and Dr. Amy Karpati, Director of Science and Programs. Hillary is completing her Master’s in Conservation Biology and has co-taught the TESA program for three years. Amy holds a Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolution as well as a M.S. in Adolescent Education, and is an adjunct instructor at Columbia University. Both scientists regularly mentor high school independent science research students.

TESA Alumni and Stories

  • Three of our Teatown Environmental Science Academy alumni, Kimberly Nicole Badger, Soon il Junko Higashino (students at Ossining High School) and Amar Bhardwaj of the Hong Kong International School, were named semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search, the prestigious national high-school science competition.
  • Kimberly Nicole Badger’s research project was entitled “Urban Forests Fail to Provide Adequate Habitat for Native Woodpecker Species.” Soon il Junko Higashino’s project was entitled, “Species Richness of Cutaneous Bacteria Varies with Urbanization: Implications of the Effects of Habitat Conditions on Defense Mechanisms of Plethodon cinereus.” Amar’s research project was entitled, “Effects of Invasive Plant Leaf-Litter on a Lake Ecosystem.” Soon il was thereafter named an Intel finalist.
  • Two of our alumni from the TESA program participated in the ISWEEP International Science Competition with youth from all over the world in Houston. www.ISWEEEP.org. 385 highly qualified projects from 66 different countries were displayed. Participants enjoyed meeting with with students from different parts of the world while seeing that they are not the only ones committed to finding solutions to the globe’s problems. Both TESA alumni received awards in the Environment category:
  • Javiera Morales won a Silver Medal for her project on”The Correlation Between Forest Fragmentation and Invasive Herbaceous Plant Presence in a Deciduous Forest Habitat.”
  • Sara Mongno won a Bronze Medal for her project on “The Effects of Leaf Litter from Invasive Species on Water Quality Factors.”

The impact of watershed inputs on lake water qualityCaroline Smith, junior at Somers High School

Does predator urine deter beavers (Castor canadensis) from building damsAndriy Gura, junior at Carmel High School

The effect of lily pad removal on water quality in a eutrophic lakeLindsay Yue, senior at Dobbs Ferry High School:

The effect of caffeine on two insect larva speciesHayley Lewis, junior at Putnam Valley High School

Microhabitat preference of stream salamandersDylan Spedaliere, sophomore at Ossining High School

Can Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) be beneficial to the frog population? William Crainer, sophomore at Hackley School

Habitat characteristics of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) infestationsCasandra Moisanu, senior at Harborfields High School

Beaver (Castor canadensis) and deer (Odocoileus virginianus) impact on regenerating stump sproutsGabriella Weeks, sophomore at Yorktown High School

Detecting small mammals in fragmented landscapesChristopher Hannon, junior at Somers High School

Preferred wildflower characteristics of bees at Teatown Lake ReservationJeannie Yamazaki, senior at Valhalla High School:

The use of silicone surfactant in Japanese angelica (Aralia elata) treatmentsMatthew Kaplan, junior at White Plains High School