Albany Pine Discovery Center

Albany Pine Discovery Center.png
195 New Karner Rd, Albany, NY, United States

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 and press 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.

Educator and Student Programs

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Teachers Workshop

All of the courses below are adaptable for teachers in grades K – 12

Mammals And Their Young

This course focuses on mammalian reproduction. Participants will examine this vertebrate animal group to explore developmental differences and similarities among the bearing and rearing of mammals and sub groups of mammals; marsupials and monotremes. Each group will be classified by their unique characteristics and basic life functions through inquiry-based methods. Participants will incorporate this life science information into the science curriculum to meet NY State Learning Standards and Assessments.

Natural Adaptations With Seasonal Changes: Autumn To Winter

This course focuses on seasonal changes and the resulting adaptations of plants and animals. An introduction to the seasonal variations of the biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem will be addressed through scientific inquiry. Participants will explore a forest ecosystem and how its associated organisms respond to the changes in the environment. Participants will incorporate this life science information into the science curriculum to meet NY State Learning Standards and Assessments.

Discover Butterflies – Their Life Histories

In this workshop about butterflies, participants will discover ways to integrate the fascinating life history of the butterfly into their science curriculum. Learn how to set up a home for and care for Painted Lady Butterflies in the classroom. A complete package provides teachers with the necessary components for a “butterfly experience” for their students, which meets the NY State Life Science Standards and Assessments.

Discovering Pond Life

This course provides a hands-on close-up look at the natural community of a pond. Participants will be introduced to limnology (study of inland water) and the four habitats of a pond ecosystem. Participants will learn how to enhance pond study through the use of discovery scopes and hand lenses to observe, collect and identify pond specimens. We will discuss the interdependence and interactions of specimens that are collected.

Exploring Estuaries: Endangered Wetlands

Participants will explore the habitats of Alley Creek, Little Neck Bay and Long Island Sound to learn about the various plants and animals that inhabit these estuaries and discuss the concepts of salinity, temperature, nutrients and water flow.Participants will also learn about the geologic history of local estuaries, their various habitats, and resident organisms. Teachers will practice hands on techniques, concepts and activities to convey the importance of these vital ecosystems. These science concepts meet NY State Learning Standards and Assessments.

Birds In New York City

This hands-on workshop focuses on beginning ornithology: the fascinating world of birds! Through scientific inquiry, find out about birds’ natural history, behavior, courtship, nest building, physical features, food finding and eating.Participants will begin to learn to identify some common urban birds and the various natural communities (meadow, forest, marsh, and pond) that they inhabit. A demonstration of live birds will be given during the workshop. Participants will focus on how to introduce interesting bird concepts to their students and how to incorporate this life science information into their science curriculum to meet the NY State Learning Standards and Assessments.

Reptiles And Amphibians. The Cold Blooded Ones. Which Is Which?

This course focuses on the life history of reptiles and amphibians. Participants will learn about the characteristics, behaviors and adaptations of reptiles and amphibians within the natural environment.Participants will be introduced to native reptiles and amphibians, will learn how to use inquiry-based methods to identify and distinguish between them, and will share ways to incorporate these natural science concepts into the classroom to meet NY State Learning Standards and Assessments.

Biodiversity In Alley Pond Park With Focus On Insects

This course is a make-it-take-it live crickets workshop which introduces participants to the concept of biodiversity.Participants will be introduced to the ecosystems in Alley Pond Park – forest, pond and meadow – which contain a diversity of flora and fauna. Each participant will make a terrarium containing a cricket, to demonstrate the components of an ecosystem. Teachers will be able to use the terrariums to help their students study the natural interactions and interdependencies of crickets and their environment. Participants will incorporate this life science information into their science curriculum to meet NY State Learning Standards and Assessments.

Urban Forest Ecology: Trees

This course focuses on urban forest ecology in Alley Pond Park. Participants will learn about the biotic and abiotic relationships and interdependencies within the forest ecosystem, the animals that inhabit trees, how to identify local trees and the stratification of an eastern deciduous forest.Participants will learn about the parts of trees, how to tell the age of trees, and the roles of trees in the forest environment. Each participant will receive and learn to use a dichotomous key to aid in identifying tulip, oak, sassafras, maple and dogwood trees.

Endangered Species

This course explores the reasons that plant and animal species become endangered, the consequences of population decline, and what can be done to halt the decline. An introduction to biodiversity and invasive species will be given through inquiry-based methods.Participants will share ways to incorporate these natural science concepts in their classrooms to meet the NY State Learning Standards and Assessments.

Rain Drops To Drink – Nyc’s Water Supply System

This course focuses on NYC’s water supply system, its watershed and how it works. We will explore the system from raindrops, to mountains, to aqueducts, to pipes, to your faucet, through inquiry-based methods. We will also discuss the benefits of our water supply system and ways to conserve this precious resource – safe, fresh drinking water.Participants will share ways to incorporate these natural science concepts in their classrooms to meet the NY State Learning Standards and Assessments.

Global Warming And Sustainable Energy

This course focuses on global warming—its causes and how it relates to sustainable energy resources. The consequences of global warming will be explored through inquiry-based methods.Participants will be introduced to renewable energy resources that are available now. They will share ways to incorporate the climate change concepts in the classroom to meet the NY State Learning Standards and Assessments.

Trash In New York City – Recycle, Reuse, Reduce, Refuse

This course focuses on solid waste—its sources and where it ends up. Participants will learn to identify household products that are recyclable and what resources are used to make them. They will also learn why the 4 R’s are necessary to help our environment through inquiry-based methods.Participants will be introduced to NYC solid waste issues and remedies to solid waste problems. Participants will share ways to incorporate these issues into the classroom to meet the NY State Learning Standards and Assessments.

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Field Biology Internships (FBI)

The Syllabus

The syllabus is full of many interesting topics that scientists encounter in their studies of the environment. From air and water quality to ecosystem biodiversity, students will experience new challenges each class. Every year new topics are added and expanded. Past classes have focused on Estuary Fauna, Pond Scum, GPS and Orienteering, Water, Soil and Air Testing and Biodiversity.Call Field Biology Internship educator Kimesha Reid Grant at 718-229-4000 ext. 202 for this year’s syllabus and more information.

Semester Details:

Field Biology Internships

Field Biology Internships; students must be high school sophomores or juniors.6 classes per semester; 3 semesters per year:
Minimal registration fee applies*, but acceptance into the program is required in order to attend.*Call 718-229-4000 ext. 202 to ascertain the current fee.

Fall 2014

(application due September 28th)
Sat., 9:30 – 12:30 Oct. 19, 26; Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23

DUE DATES ARE STRICTLY FOLLOWED BECAUSE OF THE POPULARITY OF THIS INTERNSHIP.*See the side bar on this page for the FBI application.

The Senior Independent Internships

Students must be High School seniors

Seniors who are interested in the Senior Independent Internship can contact us for information on setting-up a program that interests them.
Applications must be submitted by the dates listed above, under Semester Details. Please call well in advance of these deadlines, to ensure enough time to develop your program.

Our Classroom

Most of our sessions will begin at the Padavan Pavilion, the Outdoor Classroom at APEC. After a discussion on the topic and materials for that week, we venture out into the park to further explore the day’s subject in a more hands-on manner.Students should come to class dressed according to the weather (ex. boots, rain gear, gloves, winter coats), since we are almost always outside for the full three-hour class. It is suggested that you bring a change of shoes and socks, along with insect repellent and sunscreen. Other than these few things, students are only required to bring a pencil or pen to most classes.

Our Students

Students who apply and participate in our program study at public and private high schools from all over New York City and Long Island.

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