Albany Pine Discovery Center

Looking for a one-of-a-kind learning experience for your students? The globally rare Albany Pine Bush offers schools a locally unique outdoor classroom where learning comes alive. Our programs also travel to schools, bringing the Pine Bush to your classroom. Check out our school program page to learn more about school programs offered through the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and Discovery Center. Our programs meet NYS Learning Standards and are led by trained staff and volunteers. Call us at (518)456-0655 EXT 1 to book your program today!

Marvel at this Spectacular Attraction!

This fascinating ecosystem is one of just 20 inland pine barren environments in the world. The Discovery Center transforms this globally unique destination into an exciting adventure where learning comes naturally through hands-on activities.

Dare to Discover the Extraordinary

As the gateway to the Pine Bush, the Discovery Center introduces you to everything that makes the Preserve rare and adventurous. You can touch a snake skin, make a sand dune, plan a prescribed fire, learn how to help the environment and much more!

Exploration Station

Stop by our Exploration Station to explore “The World of Herps!” Our Summer Exploration Station will feature interactive stations on the unique biology and natural history of reptiles and amphibians native to the Pine Bush. Please call the Center before visiting for Exploration Station hours.

Get active and connected through nature

Take part in fascinating programs designed to inform and delight year-round. Join a First Friday Hike, take a walk to observe the flight displays of the American woodcock or solve mysteries along the trail in an all-natural C.S.I. (Critter Scene Investigation). These and other educational and recreational activities cost $3/person or $5/family.

Albany Pine Discovery Center

195 New Karner Rd

Albany, NY 12205

P. (518)456-0655 EXT 1

W. Albany Pine Bush Preserve Center

E. Albany Pine Bush Center

Hours of Operation

Tuesday-Friday: 9AM-4PM

Saturday & Sunday: 10AM-4PM

Open most holiday Mondays. Please call ahead.

Admission is free and the Center is open year-round.
 Closed on the following holidays: 
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Day. The Discovery Center is a universally accessible building. Assistive listening devices are available at the reception desk.

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School and Camp group Programs

School and Camp Groups All Ages

Do you want to get your class outside to experience a local and rare natural community?

If so, then a trip to Albany Pine Bush Preserve is the right choice for you. We have several programs to choose from and each program is led by a well trained and experienced guide. Our programs meet several NYS learning standards and are designed to promote hands-on, inquiry-based learning. We look forward to seeing you!

How do I sign up for a program?

Take a look at the programs below and decide which one is right for your class and the season of your visit. Then contact us at (518)456-0655 x1250 orinfo@albanypinebush.org to sign up. Programs need to be scheduled at least 2 weeks in advance.

If your school is unable to travel to the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center, please contact us about the Friends of the Pine Bush Community Transportation Reimbursement grant and our Outreach Programs.

How much does it cost?

$3.00 per student, teachers and chaperones attend free of charge.

Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center School Programs

 Fall

Seeds of change (1.5 hours)

The Pine Bush needs our help! Join us in an exploration of how and why we are restoring the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. During this program we will investigate the tools that are used to maintain this globally rare ecosystem. Students will also have the opportunity to be a part of our restoration program by participating in a seed collection activity within the Pine Bush Preserve. The seeds that we collect will be used to restore degraded areas of the Pine Bush back to healthy pine barrens.

Suggested grade level: 5–9 Click here for detailed learning standards

Buckmoths (2 hours)*

Did you know the Albany Pine Bush has a greater number of moth and butterfly species than the entire state of New Jersey? Join us as we discover the diversity of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) that thrive in the Albany Pine Bush. Meet up close one of our most rare moths — the inland barrens buckmoth. Participate in authentic buckmoth research along the trails of the Pine Bush Preserve, experience buckmoth habitat first hand and learn why this insect needs the Pine Bush.

* Pre-requisite: Students should complete the “Butterflies and Moths of the Pine Bush” kit in preparation for this program.

Suggested grade level: 5–8 Click here for detailed learning standards

Discover the Albany Pine Bush: A unique habitat (1.5 hours)

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve represents one of the best remaining examples of an inland pine barrens ecosystem in the world. Join us on a journey to the Pine Bush to explore what makes this ecosystem so unique. Through authentic firsthand experience, students will be introduced to the Albany Pine Bush and the natural forces of fire and ice that have shaped this ecosystem yesterday and today. We’ll also explore the diversity of life that depends on the pine barrens for its survival.

Grade level: 1-12 Click here for detailed learning standards

Forces at work (1.5 hours)*

The Albany Pine Bush is a dynamic place, shaped by the forces of nature. Most prominent are the forces of weather and fire. This program begins with an introduction to the Pine Bush and the forces that have shaped it for thousands of years. Students will then participate in a hands-on activity that further explains how the forces of weather and fire continue to shape the Pine Bush today.

* Pre-requisite: Students should complete the “Discover the Pine Bush” kit in preparation for this program.

Suggested grade level: 5–8

A point in time (Part 1: 1 hour at your school, Part 2: 1.5 hours at the Discovery Center)

The landscape of the Pine Bush has changed dramatically over the past 60+ years. From unbroken tracts of pine barrens to a highly fragmented Preserve, the Pine Bush hardly resembles the vast barrens it once was. In Part I of this program (at your school), students will learn about the basic ecology of the Pine Bush and through hands on discovery, learn to use a compass and global positioning system unit (GPS). In Part II of this program (at the APBP), students hike in the Preserve, observe and track ongoing changes using established photo points. Students will use hand held GPS units to locate the photo points, then use a digital camera and compass bearing to photograph a scene that had been photographed one month to 40 years before.

Suggested grade level: 6–12 Click here for detailed learning standards

Winter

Where do all the wild things go? Explore on snowshoes Pine Bush winter ecology (2 hours)

How would you survive living outside for the winter? The Albany Pine Bush is a year-round home to many animal species. Where do they go and how do they survive during the winter? In this program, students will discover how animals are adapted to winter survival. Students will also learn how to search for and identify animal activity. The Discovery Center will provide all students with snowshoes for this program.

Suggested grade Level: 4–8

Discover the Albany Pine Bush: A unique habitat (1.5 hours)

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve represents one of the best remaining examples of an inland pine barrens ecosystem in the world. Join us on a journey to the Pine Bush to explore what makes this ecosystem so unique. Through authentic firsthand experience, students will be introduced to the Albany Pine Bush and the natural forces of fire and ice that have shaped this ecosystem yesterday and today. We’ll also explore the unique diversity of life that depends on the pine barrens for its survival.

Grade level: 1-12 Click here for detailed learning standards

Spring

Help a habitat (Part 1: 1 hour at your school, Part 2: 1.5 hours at the Discovery Center)

Participate in the restoration of the endangered Albany Pine Bush landscape and “help a habitat.” In the first part of this two-part program, students learn about the natural history of the Albany Pine Bush ecosystem and the challenges the Pine Bush faces today. Students then participate in a hands-on habitat restoration project for the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Seeds of the Karner blue’s host plant, the wild blue lupine, are planted and germinated in the classroom. Students care for the seedlings in the classroom until they are ready for planting. In part two of the program students visit the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center and transplant their lupine seedlings to a Karner blue butterfly habitat restoration area in the Pine Bush Preserve.

Suggested grade level: 1–4 Click here for detailed learning standards

Exploring life in a pine barrens vernal pond (2 hours)*

You might call it big puddle or a little pond, but the temporary pools of water we find in the spring are actually “vernal ponds.” Come out to the Pine Bush and explore the plants and animals that make use of these special water bodies. Discover what characteristics make up a pine barrens vernal pond, create your own field notebook, and experience a habitat that is full of life. Maximum group size for this program is 30 students.

* Pre-requisite: Students should complete the “Pine Barrens Vernal Pond Kit” in-class education kit (available through the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center) before participating in this program.

Suggested grade level: 5–8 Click here for detailed learning standards

The future of the Karner blue is in our hands (1.5 hours)

Within the Albany Pine Bush lives the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Join us for an exploration into why this beautiful butterfly is nearing extinction. Learn about its natural history, how we are trying to save the Karner blue and how you can help.

Suggested grade level: 2 Click here for detailed learning standards

Discover the Albany Pine Bush: A unique habitat (1.5 hours)

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve represents one of the best remaining examples of an inland pine barrens ecosystem in the world. Join us on a journey to the Pine Bush to explore what makes this ecosystem so unique. Through authentic firsthand experience, students will be introduced to the Albany Pine Bush and the natural forces of fire and ice that have shaped this ecosystem yesterday and today. We’ll also explore the unique diversity of life that depends on the pine barrens for its survival.

Grade level: 1–12 Click here for detailed learning standards

Forces at work (1.5 hours)*

The Albany Pine Bush is a dynamic place, shaped by forces of nature. Most prominent are the forces of weather and fire. This program begins with an introduction to the Pine Bush and the forces that have shaped it for thousands of years. Students will then participate in a hands-on activity that further explains how the forces of weather and fire continue to shape the Pine Bush today.

* Pre-requisite: Students should complete the “Discover the Pine Bush” kit in preparation for this program.

Suggested grade level: 5–8 Click here for detailed learning standards

A point in time (Part 1: 1 hour at your school, Part 2: 1.5 hours at the Discovery Center)

The landscape of the Pine Bush has changed dramatically over the past 60+ years. From unbroken tracts of pine barrens to a highly fragmented Preserve, the Pine Bush hardly resembles the vast barrens it once was. In Part I of this program (at your school), students will learn about the basic ecology of the Pine Bush and through hands on discovery, learn to use a compass and global positioning system unit (GPS). In Part II of this program (at the APBP), students hike in the preserve, observe and track ongoing changes using established photo points. Students will use hand held GPS units to locate the photo points, then use a digital camera and compass bearing to photograph a scene that had been photographed one month to 40 years before.

Suggested grade level: 6–12 Click here for detailed learning standards

Summer

Discover the Albany Pine Bush: A unique habitat (1.5 hours)

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve represents one of the best remaining examples of an inland pine barrens ecosystem in the world. Join us on a journey to the Pine Bush to explore what makes this ecosystem so unique. Through authentic firsthand experience, students will be introduced to the Albany Pine Bush and the natural forces of fire and ice that have shaped this ecosystem yesterday and today. We’ll also explore the unique diversity of life that depends on the pine barrens for its survival.

Grade level: 1–12 Click here for detailed learning standards

Forces at work (1.5 hours)*

The Albany Pine Bush is a dynamic place, shaped by forces of nature. Most prominent are the forces of weather and fire. This program begins with an introduction to the Pine Bush and the forces that have shaped it for thousands of years. Students will then participate in a hands-on activity that further explains how the forces of weather and fire continue to shape the Pine Bush today.

* Pre-requisite: Students should complete the “Discover the Pine Bush” kit in preparation for this program.

Suggested grade level: 5–8 Click here for detailed learning standards

A point in time (Part 1: 1 hour at your school, Part 2: 1.5 hours at the Discovery Center)

The landscape of the Pine Bush has changed dramatically over the past 60+ years. From unbroken tracts of pine barrens to a highly fragmented Preserve, the Pine Bush hardly resembles the vast barrens it once was. In Part I of this program (at your school), students will learn about the basic ecology of the Pine Bush and through hands on discovery, learn to use a compass and global positioning system unit (GPS). In Part II of this program (at the APBP), students hike in the preserve, observe and track ongoing changes using established photo points. Students will use hand held GPS units to locate the photo points, then use a digital camera and compass bearing to photograph a scene that had been photographed one month to 40 years before.

Suggested grade level: 6–12 Click here for detailed learning standards

Exploring life in a pine barrens vernal pond (2 hours)*

You might call it big puddle or a little pond, but the temporary pools of water we find in the spring are actually “vernal ponds.” Come out to the Pine Bush and explore the plants and animals that make use of these special water bodies. Discover what characteristics make up a Pine Barrens vernal pond, create your own field notebook, and experience a habitat that is full of life. Maximum group size for this program is 30 students.

* Pre-requisite: Students should complete the “Pine Barrens Vernal Pond” in-class education kit (available through the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center) before participating in this program.

Suggested grade level: 5-8 Click here for detailed learning standards

We Can Come to You!

If you can’t come to us, let us bring our programs to you. Discovery Outreach Programs are programs brought to your school and presented in the classroom and on school grounds by trained Albany Pine Bush staff and education volunteers. Please give us a call to arrange an Outreach Program (518)456-0655 and press 1.

We Can Come to You!

If you can’t come to us, let us bring our programs to you. Discovery Outreach Programs are programs brought to your school and presented in the classroom and on school grounds by trained Albany Pine Bush staff and education volunteers. Please give us a call to arrange an Outreach Program (518)456-0655 and press 1.

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Author: Stuspots

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  • classicclassroom

    Hello, I am a 4th grade teacher in Albany. I love
    the Pine bush as much as my students and my children do. It is surprise when I
    go to conventions or teacher conferences and hear someone saying the have never
    been. Really, even if you don’t live in the immediate area it is worth
    traveling for.