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Science for the next generation


Through workshops, graduate/undergraduate opportunities, and  K-12 programs, Cary is training future scientists and environmental leaders.

Preparing tomorrow’s stewards

Cary Institute education initiatives span from K-12 students to undergrads and graduate students. We also have programming that gives K-12 educators the training and tools needed to bring cutting edge ecological science into their classrooms.

Our education programs strive to instill, in all participants, ecosystem literacy – knowledge of the complexities and connections that exist in the environment around us.

K-12 students

Our educators connect K-12 learners with hands-on ecological science through innovative schoolyard programs, onsite field trips, Eco-Discovery summer day camps, and our annual Data Jam competition, which engage middle and high school students.

The Mid-Hudson Young Environmental Scientist Program is a Cary-led mentoring initiative that allows local high school students to conduct advanced environmental research, with a focus on their home ecosystem.

Undergraduate and graduate students

Each winter, we offer a graduate-level Fundamentals of Ecosystem Ecology course that examines key topics in ecology and teaches skills needed to succeed in an advanced research setting.

Many of our scientists have appointments at colleges and universities including Yale, Cornell, Princeton, Columbia, Bard, Boston University, and the University of Connecticut. They also advise graduate students from universities around the world.


Our Summer Teacher Institutes and workshops help educators deliver effective place-based ecology lessons to their students and our Research Experiences for Teachers program provides an opportunity for middle and high school teachers to engage in authentic research with Cary scientists. We also offer a rich database of free online curriculum materials, many inspired by Cary science, which align with national and state standards for science education.


A legacy of mentoring

Candiss O. Williams, Ph.D.
Research Experience for Undergraduates, Summer 2000

As a student in our REU program, Candiss Williams conducted independent research under the direction of microbial ecologist Peter Groffman. Her project exploring Nitrogen Transformation in an Urban Ecosystem was presented orally and published in a final research paper. Candiss went on to earn her Ph.D. from Purdue University and is now a Research Soil Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service. We commend her achievements.

For many students like Candiss, REU participation brings them one step closer to a career in science.