Special Services

Special Services are unique programs where OEEP staff lead hands-on investigations in the classroom of your school and/or in field sites around Long Island. From citizen science projects such as butterfly banding to determining fire frequency in the Pine Barrens through tree cores, students in our Special Services programs are directly involved in authentic studies of the natural world.

OEEP staff work with teachers to customize the program to support and enhance classroom curriculum with various themes and activities. In addition, customized programs are aligned to the NYS Common Core and Science Standards. Programs are created for grades 1-12, and can be a single or a multi-day experiences.

Here is a sample of possibilities. OEEP staff can customize programs to an array of topics. Call (631) 360-3652 to discuss other topics, programs or ideas. We welcome your input!


Field Site Programs

Long Island is home to a diversity of habitats that allow students to investigate nature first-hand. Locations for programs include places such as the Pine Barrens, Fire Island, salt marshes, north and south shore beaches, man-made rocky intertidal areas, the Nissequogue River, and more. Sample field site programs include but are not limited to:

Challenge Course
The challenge course at the Sunken Meadow Outdoor Learning Lab allows students to work in small groups under the guidance of an instructor/facilitator. Problem solving and group cooperation skills are developed as students progress through a series of increasingly difficult group tasks. Students reflect upon the decision-making process and discuss how group participation skills applied to each activity.
Otter Trawl and Shinnecock Bay Investigations
This program is conducted on Shinnecock Bay aboard the research vessel Peconic or in the Great South Bay aboard a vessel from the Captree boat basin. While on boad, students use a variety of nets and samling equipment to analyze the physical and biological environment of the bay.
Great South Bay Investigations
This program turns a charter/fishing boat into a multifaceted marine laboratory, where students test water quality, collect benthic organisms, collect/identify marine plankton and use rods and reels to collect local fish species.
Marine Mammal Necropsy
Students work with a researcher from The Riverhead Foundation to conduct a postmortem necropsy on a porpoise, dolphin, or seal. The necropsy can occur at the Foundation or in your classroom at school.
Barrier Beach Ecology and Geology
Student work with a researcher from the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society to conduct a post-mortem necropsy on a porpoise, dolphin, seal, sea turtle. The necropsy can occur at the Sunken Meadow Outdoor Learning Lab or in your classroom at school.
Interpretive Canoe Trip
Students learn the geology, biology, and history of freshwater, marine, and terrestrial environments by studying the Nissequogue River or Peconic River watershed.
Farm to Dinner Table
Long Island is a unique blend of residential, commercial and agricultural land. On this trip, students visit farms to better understand where their food comes from and will review sustainable agriculture practices.
Farming the Sea: A Mariculture Project
In this stewardship project, students learn about a new type of agriculture-mariculture by growing hard-shelled clams under controlled conditions. The clams will be seeded in the Long Island Sound to help restock coastal waters. Includes field work.
Exploring Long Island's Pine Barrens
Students develop an understanding of groundwater, watershed, fire climax forest, and plant and animal competition while exploring the Pine Barrens.
Focuses on Long Island’s insects, their adaptations, anatomy, morphology and diversity. Each topic contains an associated “hands-on” activity.
An introduction to the avian world through bird-watching. Students observe and learn first-hand how birds function through field work and readings.
Long Island History
This program incorporates the DBQ and field work to support the NYS Social Studies Standards. Includes field trips, guest speakers, and a written research project focusing on Long Island’s history.

In-School Programs

Several specialized in-school programs include but are not limited to:

Earth Balloon
This 19-ft. inflatable globe uses high quality satellite images to provide exciting and interactive science and geography programs ranging from biomes to human development. Grade appropriate programs take place in your school to support the K-12 curriculum, especially promoting geographic literacy. The Earth Balloon can be used for multiple classes each day.
These portable planetarium programs vary from an introduction to astronomy and the wonders of the night sky all the way to advanced astronomy. Programs take place in your school and can be tailored to meet each grade’s learning objectives. While the StarLab is used by one class at a time, it can be used for multiple classes each day.
Animal Encounters
During this program, students make observations to construct an evidence-based account that some young plants and animals are similar to, but not exactly like, their parents. Students do this by participating in a gallery walk of various parent/offspring live animal exhibits.
Energy Flow in Food Chains and Food Webs
Using digital microscopes, students analyze marine plankton samples. As a result of this process, students begin to understand the complex interactions between plankton species and the role of marine plankton in the ocean food web as a whole.
Life Cycles and Macroinvertebrates
Using digital microscopes and classification keys, students explore the life cycles of small, aquatic animals that live in local ponds and streams. Through this activity, students develop a deep understanding of the complex life cycles of organisms that go through metamorphosis.
Pond Study
A pail of water from a pond is teeming with life. During this program, students use digital microscopes and dichotomous keys to identify many organisms. Students use their data to compete a matrix to calculate the health of the body of water where the same was taken.
Exploring Long Island's Fisheries Resource
Students investigate fish anatomy, physiology and ecology, explore fishery habitats, and learn about the socio-economic factors affecting fisheries. This topic can be divided into several lessons, and includes a fish dissection.
Other specialized programs that have been developed for the classroom include:
  • Investigating human body systems through dissections
  • Classification of organisms using flow charts and dichotomous keys
  • Exploring marine animals and their habitats
  • Investigating unique adaptations in animals such as birds, insects, fish and more