Field Trips

Young Environmental Scientist Network (YES-Net)

The YES- Net program offers student and teachers the opportunity to join a community of learners. The program promotes data literacy and teaches basic ecological concepts through a blended structure of field experiences and classroom instruction. During the field experience students participate in authentic data collection while being immersed in our local natural ecosystems. Two pre and two post in-classroom lessons help to extend the field trip experience, providing a deeper understanding of concepts student experience hands-on while out in the field.

NEW this year!

We will be focusing on monitoring Mayfly populations! An abundant species in our local streams, mayflies are important indicators of water quality. We will be focusing on identifying different families of this insect and tracking their population. This year’s numbers will be compared to previous year’s data. A great way to engage students in data exploration!

Stream Ecology Unit

Grades 6-8
Four, 40 minute classroom lessons; One 3-hr field trip

Help us track macroinvertebrate populations in the Wappinger Creek! The 5 lesson stream ecology unit consists of two in-classroom pre lessons and two in-classroom post lessons, plus a field trip to the Cary Institute. The lessons focus on life cycles, abiotic and biotic factors, data analysis and phenology. Cary educators teach two of the lessons and support teacher-led instruction for the remaining two. This program gives students and teachers an opportunity to expand their knowledge of some of ecology's "big ideas" as well as gives context to the field trip experience. Unit can be adapted to your local stream, call for more information.


Five lesson unit - 4 classroom lessons taught by a Cary Educator, 1 field trip

Up to 30 students: $200
30-60 students: $300
(each additional field trip - $100)
There is a maximum of 60 students per field trip.

Water Life Field Trip

Grades 3-12
3 hours

Don’t have time for the full 5 lesson unit or have younger students?  Participate in the stream ecology field trip only!  Help us collect data on macroinvertebrates, small aquatic critters that are used as indicators of water quality and play an important role in the stream food web.  Students will participate in ecological research as they collect, identify, and then compare these organisms from two sections of Wappinger Creek. 

Up to 30 students: $100
30 – 60 students: $200
There is a maximum of 60 students


Water on the Move: Exploring the Local Water Cycle

Grades 3-12
3 hours

The local water cycle comes to life on our trails as students participate in mini-investigations that include stops along our creeks, wetlands, and forests.  Our educators use watershed models and groundwater wells to illustrate the sources of our drinking water and the impacts that humans have on this valuable resource.

Up to 30 students: $100
30 – 60 students: $200
There is a maximum of 60 students per visit.

Nature’s Clock

Grades 3-7
3 hours

Timing is everything! The health of species and ecosystems depends on life cycle events happening during the right window. The study of the timing of these events is called Phenology. Your students will explore the Cary Institute’s Fern Glen and make careful observations about the plants that are part of our phenology trail. Students will test their skills at making observations, map reading, and identifying plant parts, as they work through a scavenger hunt for tagged plants.

Up to 30 students: $100

Due to the sensitive nature of our trail, this program can only accommodate 30 students at a time.

This field trip meets at the Plant Science Building.

Ecosystem Discovery Walk

Grades K-2
1.5 hours

Younger students are challenged to use all of their senses to discover their local landscape through a guided walk on our trails.  Students will also participate in mini-investigations that use their natural curiosity to explore basic ecosystem concepts such as food and interaction webs and the living and non-living components of an ecosystem. This program can be structured to enhance your current science curriculum.

Up to 30 students:  $75
30 – 60 students: $150
There is a maximum of 60 students per visit.

Classroom Visits

Pre and post programs in your classroom are available for all field trips. These visits help to give background information and connect what students have learned to your current curriculum.

Pre-Visit – 40min $50 first class; $25 each additional class on the same day.
Post-visit – 40 min, $50 first class; $25 each additional class on the same day


Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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