Schoolyard Programs

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.

Stream Ecology Unit

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

Is there a stream near your school you’ve always wanted to incorporate into your lessons? Help us track macroinvertebrate populations in our streams! 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 or your local stream. 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.

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!

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.

1 class – 45 minute program:  $100; $50 each additional class on the same day
1 class – 90 minute program : $150; $75 each additional class on the same day


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 Water Life 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 and identify organisms from our local streams.

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

Schoolyard Ecosystem Explorations

Grades K-12

At the Cary Institute we believe every place is an ecosystem.  This program allows students to explore and investigate an ecosystem that means a lot to them – their schoolyard!  Cary educators visit your classroom to introduce and set up an inquiry based project that compliments your curriculum, individual schoolyard, and time constraints.  Popular topics include schoolyard ecosystem discovery walks for younger students and investigations of food webs, biodiversity, phenology and microbes for older students.  

Call to find out more information about a program that fits your needs. 

Investigating Your Schoolyard Water Cycle

Grades 3-12

When we think about the water cycle, most of us think of a diagram with arrows moving from alpine peaks into the big, blue ocean.  Unless we live in such a place, this idealized diagram does not teach us where our water comes from, or what happens to rain that falls on our neighborhoods.  In this program, the local water cycle goes beyond evaporation and condensation to become local and significant as students participate in mini water investigations in their schoolyard that illustrate the many pathways of water in your local neighborhood.

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

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