Our educators are busy all year round! As we jump into the summer camp season, we’re taking a look back at all that has happened this year.
From September to June yellow school buses pull into Teatown bringing students from Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and NYC to engage in hands-on exploration and discovery on the preserve. Teatown educators welcome children and engage them in learning by using our 1,000-acre living laboratory of forests, fields, lakes and wetlands which invite them to act like a scientist as they observe, make predictions and collect data.
Programs incorporate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in age appropriate ways to connect students to nature and inspire a commitment to lifelong environmental stewardship.
Here’s a sampling of programs that over 9,000 students from 65 different schools experienced this year at Teatown:
- Busy As a Beaver
- Ecosystem Explorations
- All About Water
- Hudson Valley Wildlife
- Pond Study
Teatown at the RiverWalk Center
At the RiverWalk Center in Kingsland Point Park in Sleepy Hollow, Teatown educators engage students in learning about river ecology in programs like Estuary Investigations and Our Home is the Watershed. Our Augmented Reality Sandbox is a big hit with students as they change landforms and watch watersheds in action.
Marie using the “salt wedge” to demonstrate how fresh water and salt water mix in the Hudson River.
The Augmented Reality Sandbox is a hands-on tool that helps students understand how watersheds work.
We are proudly following through with our commitment to reach under-resourced communities.
The following programs reach students of all ages throughout Westchester:
No Child Left Inside
Our scholarship program for students from under-resourced districts continued for the 10th year. This year Teatown provided funds to districts to cover transportation costs or program fees for field trips to Teatown. Over 3,000 students from Mt. Vernon, New Rochelle, Yonkers, Ossining and Peekskill came to Teatown to connect with nature and learn from the experience.
Nurtured by Nature
Teatown’s commitment to inspiring lifelong environmental stewardship begins with our youngest learners – the preschool set! Kate, our school year educator, spent many hours every week with Pre-K students and their teachers at Park Early Childhood Center, Little School (part of Ossining First Steps program), and Yorktown Head Start. Nurtured by Nature captures children’s innate curiosity; encouraging dirty hands, muddy feet and enquiring minds. This year we counted acorns, collected and sorted fall leaves, made beaver lodges, observed a caterpillar’s transformation to a butterfly, and danced a bee’s waggle dance! All served to take a child’s natural sense of wonder and help it to flourish into scientific enquiry.
We are passionate about sharing our love for nature and sustainability with Nature Girls! Tarrytown and Ossining Nature Girls are incredibly sweet, eccentric, fun and creative young women. All are interested in science, come ready to learn and pepper Marie and Elissa, Teatown’s Nature Girl educators, with questions about plants, animals, habitats and more!
Grow Wild Outside
Teatown’s newest endeavor began in February when we received a grant from the Westchester County Youth Bureau to provide year round environmental education enrichment for young children from Park School in Ossining. Teatown educators Maddy, Elissa, Kate and our education intern Alex met weekly with 50 children and hiked, played nature themed games, made crafts and visited with Teatown’s animals. During the summer rising K and 1st graders enrolled in Park’s Summer Academy will have the opportunity to experience Teatown Summer Camp in the afternoon.
We involve volunteers in all our education efforts
Every week adult volunteers help Teatown to achieve our mission of inspiring the community to lifelong environmental stewardship. Nature Guides, Raptor Crew, and Wildflower Island Guides all play a vital and vibrant role here educating the public. Assisting students as they collect data during stream studies, providing enrichment for our birds of prey, guiding groups on Wildflower Island, each person who volunteers becomes a member of the Teatown community, learning and teaching along with us.
Our annual EagleFest attracted around 2,500 people this year!
Each weekend, our educators offer nature programming for the public. Some of our popular programs included Shinrin-yoku, Feed the Animals, and Beachcombing at the RiverWalk Center. These programs (including EagleFest) reached approximately 4,000 adults and children this year.
The Sustainability Series
Tom Wessels leading a discussion on reading the forested landscape.
In an effort to reach more adults in our community, we launched the Sustainability Series in the Fall of 2017. The fall series (3 programs) focused on the science surrounding sustainability as it relates to biodiversity, and the Spring series (5 programs) focused on sustainability in practice. The series was a success, and we’re already planning next year’s programming. Stay tuned!
The Teatown Environmental Science Academy
The Teatown Environmental Science Academy (TESA) is a summer program for high school students that provides them with invaluable hands-on experience studying our preserve while working with Teatown’s field scientists. 10 alumni of TESA from summers 2017, 2016 & 2015 attended The Westchester Science and Engineering Fair (WESEF) this year on March 17. In total, over 400 students from more than 30 schools participated in WESEF.
We are welcoming the TESA Class of 2018 this week, wish them luck!