Teatown Environmental Science Academy

July 5 – July 30, 2021

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

The Teatown Environmental Science Academy is conducted in partnership with the Pace University Dyson College of Arts and Sciences.

Apply to TESA 2021

Application submissions are currently closed.

Real World Experience

The Teatown Environmental Science Academy (TESA) is an intensive and challenging field-based environmental science research program for high school students.

TESA provides invaluable experience for students interested in the environment through exposure to the techniques and technology of environmental scientists and field biologists. Students conduct research in the fields, forests, lakes, and streams of Teatown’s 1,000-acre nature preserve.

Taught by Field Scientists

TESA is taught by scientists and instructors from Teatown and Pace University who study regional environmental issues, conduct research, and have experience in mentoring science research students.

Program Curriculum

The educational curriculum of TESA blurs the distinction between research and teaching by providing students the opportunity to conduct independent work through laboratory exercises and field projects.

Individualized attention from leading scientists furthers 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

Each student will conduct an independent research project and present their findings at a class symposium that will be open to family and friends.

TESA often serves as a pilot program to help students develop independent research projects that they continue during the school year. The program is also invaluable to students who have an interest in pursuing environmental science as part of their post-secondary education.


TESA is a fee-based program limited to 12 students who will be accepted on a competitive basis. Fees are $1,900 for members; $2,100 for non-members. Limited scholarship support is available.

Support a student in need

With your donation and the help of other generous donors, Teatown will be able to offer scholarships to under-resourced students who would not otherwise be able to attend TESA.

View the 2021 TESA Symposium

2021 Symposium Details


Opening Remarks

Kevin Carter, Executive Director, Teatown
Dr. Danielle Begley-Miller, Director of Science and Stewardship, Teatown
Dr. Matt Aiello-Lammens, Associate Professor, Pace University

Session I

“How Different Aquatic Systems and Water Quality Influence Algae Diversity.” Miles Hamilton, Rising Sophomore, Hastings High School

“Lily Pad’s Effect on Aquatic Environments.” Max McKenna, Rising Sophomore, Lakeland High School

“The effect of pH on the growth of algae.” Emilie Ward, Rising Junior, Rye Country Day School

“Biodiversity of Macroinvertebrates at Teatown Lake.” Brayden Recitas, Rising Junior, Dobbs Ferry High School

“Using Spectroscopy to Standardize Black Walnut Extract.” Matthew Finnerty, Rising Senior, Yorktown High School

“Comparing water quality between source and downstream waterbodies.” Jackson Mills, Rising Sophomore, Croton-Harmon High School

Session II

“Is it hot out here, or is it just the canopy?” Reece Haft-Abromovitch, Rising Senior, Rye Country Day School 

 “Does the patterns of human activity influence patterns of animal activity?” Arianna Ronan, Rising Junior, White Plains High School

 “Finding the Preferences of Native Pollinators Between Native and Non-native Plant Species”. Connor Liebowitz, Rising Junior, Croton-Harmon High School

 “The impact of land use history on plant invasions and invasive plant diversity in forest ecosystems.” Julia Azulay, Rising Junior, Yonkers High School

“Effect of Aralia elata on soil resources at Teatown.” Jack van der Steeg, Rising Senior, Harrison High School

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.”

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