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. Discussion of the decision making process and skills applied to the situation immediately follow each activity.
Native New Yorkers
In this program, elementary students step back in time to learn about the Native American people of New York State. At the Caleb Smith Outdoor Learning Lab, students will visit a wigwam, vegetable garden, and participate in hands-on activities to learn about the culture and practices of Native American people.
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 State Park boat basin. While on-board, students use a variety of nets and sampling equipment to analyze the physical and biological environment of the bay.
Marine Mammals
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
Focused on interpreting Long Island’s barrier beach environment on Fire Island.
Interpretive Canoe Trip
Students learn the geology, biology, and history of freshwater, marine, and terrestrial environments by studying the Nissequogue watershed.
Invasive Species
Students participate in a citizen science activity, assisting local biologists and researchers. Identification and mapping of terrestrial or aquatic invasive species, then analyzation of data. A compare and contrast of various sites can occur.
Restoring Eelgrass Communities
In this project based learning experience, students plan, and then plant and restore eelgrass communities to Long Island’s south shore. This strong STEAM program also allows students to make a positive impact in their local environment.
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.
This portable planetarium provides an introduction to astronomy and the wonders of the night sky. 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.
Life Cycles and Macroinvertebrates
Using microscopes and classification keys, students explore the life cycles of small, aquatic animals that live in local ponds and streams.
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:
  • Energy flow in food chains and food webs
  • Investigating human body systems through dissections
  • Classification of organisms using flow charts and dichotomous keys
  • Exploring animals and their habitats, specifically ocean life
  • Organism adaptations such as birds, insects, fish and more