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Educational Programs

Sweetbriar Nature Center offers educational opportunities for all ages, either at our nature preserve or at your facility. Whether you want your students to learn about metamorphosis and butterflies, explore the treasures of the tropical rain forest or examine predator/prey relationships, Sweetbriar has the program for you! Our programs are designed to involve participants through the use of live animals, hands-on activities and interactive experiences. It is our hope that all visitors will gain a better understanding and respect for the natural world. Programs align with the ELA Core Core and with the core curriculum for science.

The programs are listed by grade level. These are suggested grade levels. If you are interested in booking a program that is listed for a different age group, please contact our Program Coordinator and we will work with you. We can also tailor programs to your needs.

 

Program Descriptions      

(See links below descriptions to view how our programs align both with the common core and the science core curriculum)

 

Pre-School, Kindergarten, Grade 1

 At the nature center

 Five Senses

 90 minutes                                                          8.00/child

Children use their senses as they explore the nature preserve… They are introduced to our live resident animals as they use their senses to learn about the special traits of reptiles, birds and mammals. The children will receive a special sticker to remind them of the joy of using their senses in the natural world.

 

Life Cycles

 90 minutes                                              8.00/child

Through stories, role playing, and direct interaction with the natural world, children will learn that all things in nature change, and that many of the changes are cycles including life cycles. The life cycles represented are that of plants, butterflies and frogs.

Life Cycles ELA Alignment                        Life Cycles science alignment (1)

 

Treasure of the Tropical Rain Forest

1 hour                                                       7.00/child

 

Children will discover some of the wonders of the tropical rain forests and begin to appreciate the wonders of this ancient ecosystem.  Children will take a trek through a mock rain forest, meet live animals and end with a fun, participatory activity to remind them about life in the rain forest.

 

Discovering Dinosaurs

1 hour                                                       7.00/child

This program introduces students to the world of dinosaurs, through observation and discovery. Through a mock fossil dig, a dinosaur scavenger hunt, and live animals, students will be introduced to these awesome creatures and how paleontologists find out about them using fossils.  

 

 At your facility

 Animal Interviews

 55 minute                                                 8.00/child

Live examples of each of the mammal, bird and reptile families are brought to your classroom.  The presentation will focus on the characteristics that make each wildlife family unique. Experience a scaly snake, an ancient turtle, a curious bird, and a furry mammal.

Animal Interviews ELA Alignment (1)                      Animal Interviews science alignment

 

Discovering Dinosaurs

1 hour                                                        8.00/child

This program introduces students to the world of dinosaurs, through observation and discovery. Through a mock fossil dig, a dinosaur scavenger hunt, and live animals, students will be introduced to these awesome creatures and how paleontologists find out about them using fossils.

 

Elementary (Grades 2-4)

At the nature center

Discovering Nature

2 hour                                                                    9.00/child

Children experience woodland and wetland habitats as they wander along  the trails of the preserve. They observe and learn about local wildlife and how the natural world works. Each group of children participates at stations where they meet local reptiles, birds and mammals and the adaptations that help each to survive

 

Feathered Friends

2 hours                                                                              9.00/child

This is an introduction to the world of birds. By observing our resident non-releasable birds, taking a close look at feathers and dressing in costumes, the children learn what makes birds different from other animals, and what adaptations are crucial in the life of each bird.

Forest to Forest                                     9.00/child

Of all the land area on this wondrous planet, only a small percentage is covered by forests.   There are many kinds of forests in the world from below the Tundra all the way to the equator.   Upstairs at the nature center is our simulated Rain Forest and an interactive Temperate Forest.  Students will explore both to compare and contrasts these unique ecosystems.   They will also meet animals that have tools to live in forests and take a walk through our preserve to move through the life cycle of a tree.

Butterflies & Moths

2 hours                                                      10.00/child

Discover the world of butterflies and moths and learn about the role they play in the natural world. Your class will meet these beautiful creatures under the microscope, in slides, posters, as preserved specimens and living in the wild. They will be given a butterfly craft to put together at the center or back at the classroom. Students will visit the gardens and/or the butterfly house.  (Butterfly House is open late May through September).

 

Vertebrate Parade

2 hours                                                      $9.00/child

Your class will be introduced to a parade of vertebrates as they learn about amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals as they find out what makes a vertebrate, a vertebrate, and learn the differences between the four groups presented.    Students will meet a few members of each group and discover there are many differences even among similar animals.

 

 Insects and Their Kin                              9.00/child

2 hours

Insects and their kin are some of the most common creatures on the face of the earth.  Through hands-on activities, costumes and live and mounted specimens, children will learn what makes insects unique, their importance to human beings and the natural world and their incredible variety.  Students can view a working bee hive when available.

 

Treasure of the Tropical Rain Forest

2 hours                                                      9.00/child

Children will discover the awesome diversity of life in the rain forest and begin to appreciate the wonders of this ancient ecosystem.  Children will take a trek through a mock rain forest, meet live animals and take a visual journey through the life in its layers.  An interactive game show is included upon request.

Rain Forest Alignment ELA                    Rain Forest Alignment Science

Raptors

90 minutes                                                8.00/child

This program will introduce students to live birds of prey. They will meet owls, falcons, and hawks and learn about the adaptations that help these beautiful raptors survive. We will also discuss the raptors’ role as predators at the top of the food chain. Owl pellets will be dissected and examined.

 

Web of Life

2 hours                                                      9.00/child

Even the most common living things have some of the most amazing connections.  Students will connect themselves into the Web of Life, follow a real estate agent around to assist them in finding homes for wildlife, and meet live animals to help them learn about the interdependency of all life.

 

 

Elementary (Grades 2-4)

At your facility

 

Treasures of the Tropical Rain Forest

55 minutes                                               8.00/child

Students will discover the wonders of this unique ecosystem and the ominous future it faces. Through a slide presentation, live rain forest animals, and a treasure trove of products, students will learn the importance of one of the most diverse places on Earth.

Rain Forest Alignment ELA                    Rain Forest Alignment Science

 

Mammals  

 55 minutes                                    8.00/child  

Both live mammals and mounted specimens will visit your classroom to highlight the unique adaptations of mammals. Mammal habitats, survival techniques, senses, homes and various mammal life-styles will also be covered. Your students will enjoy describing how they feel as they touch our friendly rabbit, ferret, chinchilla, and special mammal guest.

 

 

Predator/ Prey

 55 minute program                                  8.00/child

For all living things, survival is the name of the game. Nature is a world of eat or be eaten, kill or be killed. Predators and prey have unique tools and behaviors that enable them to survive. Through skulls, live animals and stories, students will learn firsthand about the adaptations of predators and prey.

 

 

Reptiles and Amphibians

55 minutes                                                8.00/child                

Live reptiles and amphibians are observed and compared during a cooperative learning experience that stresses observation and data collection. Survival strategies and natural histories of reptiles and amphibians are compared and discussed.

 

 

The World of Birds

 55 minutes                                              8.00/child

What makes a bird a bird? Feathers, lots of feathers. Meet and touch a live chicken. Compare it to a live owl or hawk. Learn about songbirds, the mystery of migration, egg laying, nests, protective coloration and much more. Costumes may be used to aid in a discussion of specialized tools and characteristics of bird families.

 

Birds of Prey

 55 minutes                                               9.00/child

Have live raptors visit your students. Students will meet owls, falcons and hawks and learn about the adaptations that help these awesome birds survive. Learn how humans are part of the picture, and how we can help. Students will learn each bird’s stories about how they came to be at Sweetbriar.

 

 

Butterflies and Moths

55 minutes                                                8.00/child

Discover the world of butterflies and moths and learn about the role they play in the natural world. Your class will meet these beautiful creatures under the microscope, in slides, posters, and as preserved specimens.

 

Threatened Species

 55 minutes                                               8.00/child

Live animals are brought into the classroom, each with its own special story. Topics discussed include endangered species, disappearing habitats, the exotic animal trade, conservation, and ways individuals can help. Visiting animals may include an iguana, a ferret, a chinchilla and a raptor.  

 

Middle School Programs (Grades 5-8)

 

At the Nature Center

 

Forest to Forest                                     9.00/child

Of all the land area on this wondrous planet, only a small percentage is covered by forests.   There are many kinds of forests in the world from below the Tundra all the way to the equator.   Upstairs at the nature center is our simulated Rain Forest and an interactive Temperate Forest.  Students will explore both to compare and contrasts these unique ecosystems.   They will also meet animals that have tools to live in forests and take a walk through our preserve to move through the life cycle of a tree.

Survival!

2 hours                                                    9.00/child

Winter is a difficult time for all living things. All life forms, including humans, have many strategies for survival. Students will meet with some of our resident animals, explore our preserve for signs of wildlife, and become problem solvers as they are put in a survival situation.

 

The Variety of Life

Grades 5 – 8                               

2 hours                                                     9.00/child

The earth abounds with life. Scientists are continually exploring, discovering, observing and classifying this life. Students will explore the diversity of life through interaction with our resident wildlife, an exercise in taxonomy and by visiting natural communities on our preserve.

 

Long Island: Wildlife on the Brink

Grades 5 – 8                                  

 2 hours                                                  9.00/child

Long Island, as many places around the world, is a difficult place for most living things to live and flourish. How and why is much of the wildlife in trouble? Students will meet some animals of Long Island and other animals that are endangered, threatened or of special concern

 

 Web of Life

2 hours                                                      9.00/child

Even the most common living things have some of the most amazing connections.  Students will connect themselves into the Web of Life, follow a real estate agent around to assist them in finding homes for wildlife, and meet live animals to help them learn about the interdependency of all life.

 

Raptors

90 minutes                                                8.00/child

This program will introduce students to live birds of prey. They will meet owls, falcons, and hawks and learn about the adaptations that help these beautiful raptors survive. We will also discuss the raptors’ role as predators at the top of the food chain. Owl pellets will be dissected and examined.

 

Any of the above programs can be adapted for the classroom.

 

 At your facility

 

Predator/ Prey

 55 minute program                                 8.00/child

For all living things, survival is the name of the game. Nature is a world of eat or be eaten, kill or be killed. Predators and prey have unique tools and behaviors that enable them to survive. Through skulls, live animals and stories, students will learn firsthand about the adaptations of predators and prey.

 

Reptiles and Amphibians

55 minutes                                                 8.00/child                 

Live reptiles and amphibians are observed and compared during a cooperative learning experience that stresses observation and data collection. Survival strategies and natural histories of reptiles and amphibians are compared and discussed.

 

Threatened Species

 55 minutes                                              8.00/child

Live animals are brought into the classroom, each with its own special story. Topics discussed include endangered species, disappearing habitats, the exotic animal trade, conservation, and ways individuals can help. Visiting animals may include  an iguana, a ferret, a chinchilla and a raptor.  

 

Birds of Prey

 55 minutes                                               9.00/child

Have t live raptors visit your students. Students will meet owls, falcons and hawks and learn about the adaptations that help these awesome birds survive. Learn how humans are part of the picture, and how we can help. Students will learn each of their Survival!

 

 

High School

Arrange a field trip that fits your classroom needs and time format. Popular topics include wetlands ecology, Long Island environment, insects, live reptiles and amphibians, birds of prey, threatened species and predator-prey relationships. (Call for information.)

 

Why no assemblies for most programs

Only the ‘Birds of Prey’ and “Threatened Species” programs are  available as an assembly. We believe your students will learn much more from a setting where they have close encounters with our staff and wildlife.

 

Assembly fees per day

First assembly $350                  Third assembly $250

Second assembly $300             Fourth assembly $200

 

 

Nature Through the Seasons

Sweetbriar is now offering an exciting seasonal series which will allow kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders to observe the changes that nature undergoes through the seasons.  This can be a two part or a three part series.  In the fall and spring students will visit the nature preserve and in the winter we will come to your school.

 

Build a Nature Trail

Wouldn’t it be exciting to have a place on your school grounds to learn about nature and wildlife.  Sweetbriar is piloting a new program that will help teachers and students to create a nature trail on the school grounds.  We can focus on any topic from birds to food chains.  It can be made to change seasonally or follow the water cycle.  Any trail we do will mirror our educational philosophy of making learning interactive and fun.  As part of the package Sweetbriar will include two programs of your choice, preferably one at your school and one at the nature center.

 

 

Growing up with Nature

It has always been the goal of Sweetbriar Nature Center to have children exposed to nature and wildlife throughout their schooling.  With this in mind we have developed a nature discovery series for each level of schooling from primary through high school that coincides with the New York state learning standards for science and the mandate that no child be left inside.  The goal of this program is to help children build a more thorough understanding and appreciation of the natural world.  We will come to your school up to five times and culminate the experience by having your students visit Sweetbriar. These sessions will occur between September and April. Each session will be an interactive learning experience on a specific theme. 

 

K-2 The Living World

1) Living Colors

2) Patterns In Nature

3) Shapes and Sizes

4) The Cycles of Life

5)  Animals With Backbones

6) Five Senses at Sweetbriar

3-5 The Life Around Us

1) Life In a Tree

2) Life In the Air

3) Life Beneath the Ground

4) Life In the Water

5) Life In Other Lands

6) The Web of Life at Sweetbriar

 

6-8  All Creatures Large and Small

1) The Green Brigade

2) Animals without Backbones

3) Slimy and Scaly Skinned Creatures

4) Wings and Feathers

5) Mammals

6) Wildlife on the Brink

9-12  Issues and Actions

1) Our Long Island

2) Threatened Species

3) The Air You Breath, the Water You Drink

4) Energy Needs

5) What Is Safe

6) You Can Make Difference

 

$500 minimum for six sessions, $30/child over minimum

 

 

Sweetbriar Nature Center Educational Program:

Policies and Procedures

 

  1. Payment
  • For schools a BOCES cultural Arts/Outdoor Education  reimbursement is available for all ECSS natural science programs. If your organization is paying by check and you need an invoice, please let us know when making reservations.
  • All programs require a $75 nonrefundable deposit within two weeks from day of booking.
  • There is a $75 minimum class fee for all programs at our site and a $200 minimum class fee for off-site programs.
  • Contracts will be mailed well before the program and should be returned with deposit.
  • Final payments must be made by the day of the program unless provided with a BOCES contract. Payment must be in the form of a credit card or check/money order made payable to Sweetbriar Nature Center
  • During your visit we request that the teachers/group leaders accompany their class/group.
  • Each chaperone accompanying school groups will be charged a five dollar fee.  School staff is exempt.
  • There is at least a $25 fee for programs presented outside our travel radius

 

II.   Weather

  • All programs are conducted rain or shine. Have students dress for the weather for programs at the nature center.
  • Full refunds will be given only when mutual agreement is made on the day of the program that it is unsafe to travel.

 

III.  Use of Grounds:

  • Leaders may bring their groups to the preserve or visit the nature center before or after the scheduled program .
  • Groups can have lunch on the property
  • For either of the above uses of the grounds supervisors will be responsible for the group at this time and supervision is required. There is no additional charge, but the Program Coordinator must be notified
  • Children must be chaperoned if they wish to view the animals or walk the grounds
  • Our trails have been widened to reduce contact with ticks and poison ivy, but the possibility does exist. Have children dress appropriately. Although we have a low incidence of tick bites at Sweetbriar, please, let parents know to do thorough tick checks after any outdoor program.         
  • Many, but not all areas of the nature center are wheelchair accessible. Please inform us in advance if your group has special needs.

 IV Arrival

  • Please arrive 15 minutes ahead of scheduled time.
  • Buses should pull into the circle in front of the house where a Sweetbriar staff member will greet you.
  • Leaders will disembark to make payment.
  • Children will be divided into groups of fifteen to twenty
  • Teachers are expected to manage the children during the program.
  • Sweetbriar offers an opportunity for visiting groups to visit our gift shop. In order to accommodate this, please let us know when you book your program so we can fit it in during your stay
  • Appropriate behavior is required at all times.

 

Fees (per child)

At your Facility ($200.00 minimum)

Animal Interviews $8.00
Birds of Prey $9.00
Butterflies and Moths $8.00
Discovering Dinosaurs $8.00
Mammals $8.00
Predator/Prey $8.00
Rain Forest $8.00
Reptiles & Amphibians $8.00
Threatened Species $8.00
World of Birds $8.00

At the Nature Center ($75.00 minimum)

Butterflies and Moths $10.00
Discovering Dinosaurs $8.00/$7.00
Discovering Nature $9.00
Feathered Friends $9.00
Five Senses $8.00
Insects and Their Kin $9.00
Life Cycles $8.00
LI: Wildlife on the Brink $9.00
Treasures of the Tropical Rain Forest $7.00/$9.00
Raptors $8.00
Survival! $9.00
Variety of Life $9.00
Web of Life $9.00

 

  • Assembly programs available for certain programs. See program descriptions for more information.
  • Programs are eligible for BOCES cultural arts reimbursement. See fee schedules and reservation policies.
  • Town of Smithtown Schools will have first priority registration.
  • Please read our policies and procedures before booking a program.
  • 15% discount for programs booked at the nature center in December, January, & February
  • There is a $250/program for libraries, senior centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, civic organizations, and other groups.  Discounts available for multiple programs.
  •  A $25 travel fee will be added for schools over twenty miles from our location.

Contact Nancy Adornetto, Program Coordinator, at 631-979-6344. ext. 303 or by e-mail at nkaswbriarnc@aol.com for more information or to book a date for a program. 9am to 4pm

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