Greenbelt Environmental Education Mission Statement
To provide innovative environmental education programming promoting science, stewardship, and sustainability, to instill a sense of wonder and responsibility for the natural world.
We look forward to seeing you in the 2019 Fall semester!
We are now bookings class visits in 2019. For all inquiries and bookings, contact us by email.
The Greenbelt is an exceptional place for educators and students to explore the wonders of nature. We are always excited to meet new teachers and students, and to welcome back old friends who are already familiar with the Greenbelt and would like to learn more about our forests, meadows, streams and ponds.
Our Environmental Education programs complement current classroom curricula and meet New York State standards. Our department holds an official New York City Department of Education Vendor ID – gre481845 – which will make registration easier for many educators.
Our Offerings for School Groups and Registration/Contacts:
Please take a moment to review our topics of study, then send us an email to arrange an outdoor experience that will stimulate your students’ minds and senses. To reach us by phone, call 718-351-3450.
Programs denoted with an asterisk (*) indicate optional classroom outreach – we can come to you. Classroom outreach is limited to Staten Island schools only.
The following programs are offered at both High Rock Park and the Greenbelt Nature. Programs denoted with an asterisk (*) indicate optional classroom outreach – we can come to you. Classroom outreach is limited to Staten Island schools only. Scroll down for the fee structure for Greenbelt education programs.
- Bird Watching Birding is now one of the most popular hobbies in America. Try out identification techniques, and learn field markers, bird characteristics, and behaviors with hands-on practice using a field guide and binoculars.
- First Forest Experience This introductory program familiarizes students with the outdoors. Discover the sights, sounds, scents, and textures of the Greenbelt’s forests through guided sensory exploration.
PreK – 5; Special needs
Forest Ecosystems Explore the living and non-living factors that comprise the Greenbelt ecosystem. Interrelationships within this ecological community are examined in real time and up-close on a guided hike.
- Insects and Spiders Learn the characteristics of insects and spiders, and get to know the other invertebrates that play an important role in the forest ecosystem. Students explore these animals, using hand lenses to observe and compare.
- The Lenape Explore the history, lifestyle, and ingenuity of the early inhabitants of Staten Island. Activities, games, and outdoor exploration introduce the customs, diet, and pastimes of Eastern Woodland Native Americans.
- Nature through a Lens Using magnifying glasses, bug boxes, and binoculars, catch a closer look at insects, leaves, and other forest finds.
- Nature in Your Neighborhood* Nature isn’t just in the forest: it’s in your neighborhood! Our Environmental Educators take you hiking in your ‘hood, guiding discovery of the plants and wildlife living in your community, schoolyard, or neighborhood park.
Grades 1-8; afterschool groups
- Plants and Trees Plants and trees make their own food and provide food and shelter for others. Depending on grade level, students may learn about plant anatomy, seed dispersal, pollination, photosynthesis, and plants’ benefit for people and wildlife.
- Reptiles and Amphibians Reptiles and amphibians have similarities and differences. Explore what makes each unique and dispel common misconceptions about these important animals.
Grades PreK – 5
- Urban Wildlife What is a coyote doing in the Bronx? Why are deer thriving on Staten Island? While we often think of wildlife as existing only outside of cities, this program introduces students to animals that can survive or even thrive in urban settings. Grades 1 – 12
Environmental Education programs at High Rock Park
The below programs are only available in High Rock Park where we can take advantage of the areas natural features as they relate to the topic of study. Programs denoted with an asterisk (*) indicate optional classroom outreach – we can come to you. Classroom outreach is limited to Staten Island schools only.
- Birds of Prey Hawks, eagles, owls, and falcons are excellent hunters due to their adaptations. Learn how these birds became such good predators, examine their role in the food chain, and further investigate a raptor’s diet by dissecting an owl pellet.
- Pond Life Ponds are small but vital parts of the Greenbelt’s ecology, especially for the living things that rely on them for food and shelter. “Ponder” these ecosystems through a hands-on interactive experience (weather permitting), and learn more about the aquatic food chain.
- Energy – A Natural Resource* People are dependent on energy – from the calories we eat to the electronics we power on every day! Examine our carbon footprint and discuss ways to “go green” and incorporate sustainability in our daily lives. Grades 5 – 12
- Microscope Investigations Microscopes are an essential part of scientists’ work. This lab covers the “how” and “why” of magnification, and offers students the opportunity to try out different magnifiers to compare, contrast, and draw conclusions. Grades 5 – 12
- 4 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot!* This workshop encourages students to examine their ecological footprint through activities and games. Imaginations ignite through resourceful riddles, repurposed crafts, recycling races, and the company of compost critters! Grades 1 -1 8
- People and our Planet Our educators lead an exploration of exponential population growth, its impact on critical natural resources, and a discussion of personal choices as they relate to a sustainable future. Grades 5 – 12
- Wetlands and Water Testing Discover the importance of wetlands and conduct a firsthand study of a freshwater ecosystem. Through physical and chemical testing (pH analysis, plant/animal indicator surveys), students determine the general health of the wetland community. Grades 5 – 12
Early Childhood Education at the Greenbelt Nature Center
The Greenbelt Nature Center offers the following programs as both in-park and classroom formats. Programs denoted with an asterisk (*) indicate optional classroom outreach – we can come to you. Classroom outreach is limited to Staten Island schools only.
- I Love Animals* What types of animals live in the Greenbelt? Can you take them home as pets? By playing a game, learn the differences between wild and domesticated animals, and gain an understanding of the concept of conservation.
- Life Cycles* As people grow, they change. Plants and animals grow and change, too. Caterpillars morph into butterflies. Little acorns become great oak trees. Discover the many ways plants and animals change throughout their life cycles.
- Polar Explorations* All animals have special characteristics that help them live in their habitats. Polar animals are well adapted to living in sub-freezing conditions. Learn more about these amazing animals by trying out a blubber glove and explore other polar adaptations! PreK-1
- Me and My Tree* Why are trees so important? They provide shade on sunny days, a home for animals, help clean our air— and so much more. Explore the benefits of trees and discover how plants make their own food, using our portable “tree.”
From one of our students….
Thank you for telling me about all the things I didn’t know. The purpose of the trip was to see and talk about a very big rock that was pushed by a glacier. That is when we were hiking, which was my favorite part. – Fifth grade student on her visit to High Rock Park