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NYSOEA 40th Anniversary


The Schedule


(as of September 10th)

** Printed booklet is now available **

Click HERE to view

Note: It's a rather large file, so please allow it a bit of time to download.



* Participants must pre-register for these workshops *

Call (845)657-8333 to register


Thursday, November 1st

Easy-to-build Low Ropes Elements, Craig Apolito, Catskill Outback

This workshop will expand a program very inexpensively. If you have a limited budget and want a great teambuilding program. We will demonstrate and practice how to assemble a temporary ropes course. With several lengths of rope one can build a number of temporary low rope activities. After we build the course we will then instruct you in the proper use of how to safely and fun to run your newly built course. When we are finished, the course comes down and there is no trace of anything being built.

CRAIG APOLITO - A Certified New York State Paramedic, with a degree in Biology. He has taken courses through Project Adventure in low & high ropes. Craig has worked for Mohonk Preserve as a ranger, Assistant Youth Director for the YMCA leading youth on a variety of teambuilding, and outdoor adventuring programs. He has also worked with At - Risk youth in programs focused on Attention Deficit Disorder, emotionally disturbed. Craig is a New York State licensed guide. He has lived in the Catskill Mountain region for the past 25 years learning it history, legends, and terrain; he has done extensive traveling and is an avid outdoorsman.



Forest, Farms and Fresh H20 of the Catskills, A Tour of the New York City Watershed. Have you ever been curious about where your drinking water comes from and what is done to protect it?

On this full day bus tour, we will discover the myriad of public/private partnerships that protect the surface water supply for New York City. We will visit a working farm, a “model” forest, supply reservoir and throw in some surprises along the way! Lunch will be provided.

Your tourguide will be Jessica Olenych.

An introduction will be given by Diane Galusha of the Catskill Watershed Corporation.

Jessica Olenych, a native of the Catskill Mountains grew up learning to appreciate nature. Her passion for the Catskills and for environmental education grew during her time at Elmira College where she received a B.A. in political science and international relations. Since 2004 she has provided environmental education programs devoted to working landscapes to teachers and students in New York City and the New York City Watershed. In 2007, she established Common Ground Educational Consulting to further develop these programs working in conjunction with partners such as the Watershed Agricultural Council, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and USDA Forest Service.

Diane Galusha is Communications Director and Education Coordinator for the Catskill Watershed Corp. which runs environmental protection, economic development and education grant programs in the NYC Watershed West of the Hudson River (; She is the author of Liquid Assets, A History of New York City’s Water System (1999, Purple Mountain Press), and is President of the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown, Delaware County.


Courtesy of the Watershed Agricultural Council's Forestry Program which works to improve both the short and long-term economic viability of forest landownerships and the forest products industry to the benefit of local communities in the New York City water supply watersheds in ways compatible with water quality protection and sustainable forest management.




Hudson River Artists Tour, Patrick Linsey, Ashokan Field Campus

Experience the locations that inspired artists such as Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt whose works are recognized amongst the Hudson River School.

Sites include: Kaaterskill Falls (believe it or not, they're higher than Niagara Falls!), Olana, North Lake (Former Catskill Mountain House Site).

This is a carpool tour. If you do not have a vehicle and/or would like to share transportation,call the Ashokan office (845) 657-8333 to arrange your spot. Lunch is on our own. Minimal fee for Olana.







Recycling in Your Community: The Expectation or the Exception
Susan and Jeff O’Handley,
Wildlife Learning Company

This workshop overviews a model project that addresses recycling at County Fairs and special events through an environmental service-learning project for high school youth. Use creative partnerships to provide solutions to local problems while providing meaningful experiences for students. Learn how to have this project replicated in your community.

Creating a Hard-bound, Hand-stitched Journal
Brian Heinz, Children’s Author/Writing Consultant

A sure-fire winner of a project that integrates technology, art, writing, and organizational skills for a handsome hand-made book with endless possibilities for curricular use. Participants receive detailed, illustrated instruction pamphlets and all materials needed to complete their book for the use as a model for their students. This motivating project uses common classroom and household materials. Fee: $3.00


Global Warming: What we Can Tell Children
Fred Stoss,  Biological and
Environmental Sciences Librarian—SUNY Buffalo

Fred Stoss was trained by Al Gore to present Gore’s slide show (the basis of the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”). Teaching children about complex and controversial topics can be difficult and requires careful planning.  We will look at what’s age/grade appropriate from Gore’s presentation and how to present it to children. Other resources will be discussed.

John Burroughs: A Naturalist in the Industrial Age
Lynn Spangler, Professor - SUNY New Paltz
Joe Farleigh, Retired Teacher - founder of Roxbury Burroughs Club, current member of the Board of Woodchuck Lodge, Inc.

Viewing of "John Burroughs: A Naturalist in the Industrial Age," a 31 minute educational video targeted to middle school students and older. discussion of site visits to Burroughs's homes at Woodchuck Lodge (Roxbury) and Slabsides (West Park), and lesson plans that cover several New York State Learning Standards.

Rivers as a Classroom
Rebecca Johnson, Watershed Educator, NYS DEC
Hudson River Estuary Program

Using the Hudson River as context for learning math and reading skills, attendees will participate in activities that are Standard based, interdisciplinary, and placed based. Lessons include, but are not limited to water cycle and migration. Handouts will include curriculum activities and worksheets, posters for the classroom or Education Center, and resources.

Intro to Geo-Caching
Liz Nealon, Executive Producer, Tesseractive Pictures

This popular exploration game combines the Web and the portable GPS. Workshop explains the GPS unit caches: how to find them and place them; logbooks; Web resources; the game with examples. Workshop 1 ½ Hr.   Participants with GPS units can be part of a Geocache experience (additional 1 ½ Hr.)   Participants are not required to have a unit, but they will enjoy an outdoor trek search and discovery if they have one!

Using Science Notebooks at Summer Science Camp with Middle School Youth
Sheila Myers, Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart & William Smith Colleges

This workshop will cover tips for using science notebooks with youth ages 11-13 for scientific inquiry and discovery.  During the summer of 2007, 22 middle school youth attended science camp at the Finger Lakes Institute and utilized science notebooks to learn how to collect, observe, and record field data in both aquatic and terrestrial environments.  Students were taught skills on how to draw, write, and record information to use for interpretation and inquiry.




City Parks as an Outdoor Classroom
Julie and Steve Nobel, Environmental Educators:
Forsyth Nature Center

This workshop will demonstrate ways for educators to utilize city/town parks as an outdoor environmental education classroom throughout the school year.  Instructors will showcase their efforts in creating an outdoor classroom for the Kingston City School District and how to incorporate local parks and backyard ecosystems into the traditional in-class curriculum.


Empire Forester:  FDR as a Tree Farmer
Susanne Norris, Education Specialist, National Park Service

An exciting place-based, hands-on investigation & discussion will lead students through map orienteering, and a hike to one of FDR’s forestry plantations. Students will participate in forestry techniques, data collection, discover forest ecology, and learn about President Roosevelt’s conservation policies. Post visit activities include entering data collections onto park education database, making graphs & charts of their findings, with a forestry management plan for recommendations. Sustainability issues will be discussed. There is also a 2nd field trip option to a local lumber mill & furniture factory. Participants should dress appropriately for the weather.


Out-of-sync and Sensory Starved—Building Sensational Experiences in Nature
Kathy Ambrosini, Director of Education, Mohonk Preserve

If today’s children are nature-deprived, then could disorders like hyperactivity, distractibility, attention-deficit and impulsivity stem from that loss?  Join us as we rediscover the seven (yes 7) senses and explore their use in alleviating the symptoms of these conditions. Strategies from the Nature Access Program help to re-integrate the sensory processes that lead to thinking and learning. 


Resources for Teaching About Climate Change;
Cornelia Tutschka & Kim Notin,
Institute of Ecosystems Studies

Would you like to engage students in understanding the history of climate change in the Hudson Valley? Take this workshop to learn how to use historical pollen data to recreate the climate of the last 16,000 years as well as the impacts of European settlement since the 1600s. Materials fee: None. Materials will be provided without charge.


Bringing The Outdoors Inside: A Conversation with Author Nancy Castaldo
Nancy Castaldo, Author

Nancy writes books about nature for children and those who work with children. These include hands-on educational activities. Nancy will speak about using her books with children and demonstrate some of the activities.

More about her books can be found at:


The Rocks that Talk: Using Fossils in the Classroom
John Lancos, Environmental Educator, Interpretive Program Specialist
NPS, Gateway National Recreation Area

Fossils are not just natural curiosities. They can teach students much about the earth’s history and how life on our planet evolved. Through three hands-on activities, suitable for a range of grades, participants will explore the world of ancient life, and how life today originated.          




Leaf Pack Network: Slimy Leaves for Clear Streams  
Ben Murdock, Watershed Educator, Catskill Center for Curriculum and Development       

The Leaf Project® Program includes hands-on research used to monitor the biological health of streams and watersheds. This scientific technique allows participants to study many aspects of stream and forest ecology using simple materials and techniques. Come for an introduction to the techniques and see what’s crawling in your watershed.      

Hoping for Snow
MaryAnn Russo, Director
Helmer Nature Center

Come and make your own snowshoes. They work with or without snow! Use some ingenuity, some Math, some Phys. Ed. to make some plain wooden snowshoes.  So easy the kids can do it and walk around your school yard or nearby park.  All materials and tools provided. Materials fee: $10.00

Project Learning Tree
Susan Cox,  Forester-USDAFS, Durham, NH;
Mary Kramarchyk; NYPLT State Coordinator, Albany, NY;
Dick Rommel; Forester-NYSDEC, New Paltz, NY

Introduction to Project Learning Tree's (PLT) new Pre-K through 8 environmental education activity guide. A state-of-the-art curricullum resource, correllated to NYS standards. PLT for 9-12. PLT's secondary modules challenge students to explore the many facets of an issue-illustrating the complexity of real-life environmental decisions.


Teaching Science Using Fire by Friction
Tony Carbone, Science Teacher, The Charlton School. 

First, connections between science concepts and bowdrill firemaking are presented.  Next, attendees break into groups to participate in a lab where they alternate between learning science concepts and applying them to the firemaking apparatus.  Lastly, participants may individually ask questions and learn their skills.




Simple techniques for an effective pond study class
Jane Murawski, Program Coordinator
The Fresh Air Fund

Jane will be demonstrating simple ways to measure the chemical parameters of a pond such as pH and dissolved oxygen.  The collection and identification of microorganisms, aquatic macro-invertebrates, and, amphibians and reptiles will be discussed.  Finally, I’ll show how to use this information to assess pond health.      


Ecology for the Right Side of the Brain
George Steele, Independent Environmental Educator

Teach ecology/ natural history concepts through songs, stories and movements. Come prepared to sing, move and share your own favorite nature tune or tale.


Town Meeting: Planning Game
Susan Hereth; Education Coordinator, Scenic Hudson

Play a land use planning game where stakeholders use the democratic process to build the ideal community. Easily adapted for History, Science, and ELA lessons. Open space and environmental consideration will be incorporate. A great activity to combine with mapping lessons. Participants will be given lesson plans and instructions to make their game board and pieces.


Getting to Know Geology-Catskill Edition
Andy Angstrom, Adjunct Professor,
Environmental Outdoor Education,  SUNY New Paltz, Retired

The earth beneath us holds a wonderful story. Learning to read the language of geology will reveal much about the “history” of a place. It will provide countless teachable discoveries and life enriching adventure for teacher and student alike. Knowing your geology is an essential first step in gaining Earth wisdom. This outdoor, hands-on adventure will provide a good start for beginners, as well as depth for the “expert.


Where does our drinking water come from? The story of the NYC water supply system
John Schwartz & & Min Kan, NYS Department of Environmental Protection

Learn about the New York City water supply system and discover some engaging techniques for sharing this information with young people.


The People Connection: Human Ecology Activities for a Sustainable Planet   
Harry Barnes, Population Connection

Discover innovative, hands-on activities that examine the connections between human population growth, resource consumption and sustainable ecosystems. Presenter will engage participants in memorable games and simulations for use in the classroom or mature center. Free activities CD-ROM.    




Building Diverse Coalitions
Jerome Ringo, National President: Apollo Alliance, National Wildlife Federation   

The issue of Global Warming has created an opportunity to bring people together like no other in the recent past.  Like the Civil Rights movement, this issue requires the involvement of all segments of our community regardless of the economic status, social, gender, or ethnic background. The success of this movement will require the total participation of everyone from all walks of life. In this session, learn how it’s done.           


Teaching Science with Egg Incubation
George Steele, Independent Environmental Educator

Egg incubation is so much more than teaching about life cycles. Teaching the scientific method, data collecting, predicting, scientific measurements all come alive with an incubation project. The workshop will include tips and tricks on teaching with incubation. A 21 day incubation activity calendar handout included.


Burn Barrel Biology
Susan and Jeff O’Handley, Wildlife Learning Company

How bad is trash burning? This presentation addresses environmental and human hazards of open trash burning.  Learn about changes in our trash, things that are typically burned, what happens when they are burned, and actions that can be taken. Concepts: analysis, state of matter, deposition, food chains, bioaccumulation, and recycling.

It’s Sugaring Time
MaryAnn Russo, Director
Helmer Nature Center

Want to do sugaring but don’t have a sugar bush?  Only “got” one lonesome maple tree?  You can still teach kids the process and get enough sap to “sugar off.”  Join us and find out how.  Get resources for buying, making, or scrounging the basic equipment.        

Coughing it up: Owl Pellets Lab
John Lancos, Interpretive Program Specialist
NPS, Gateway National Recreation Area, Environmental Educator

Owl pellets serve as fascinating and educational glimpses into the life and death struggles between predators and prey in the wild. This workshop describes how to use owl pellets to study adaptations, food chains, and animal population.  Participants will dissect barn owl pellets.

Nature/Journaling Special Feature: Sound Maps
Fred Stoss, Biological and Environmental Sciences Librarian

Journaling is an effective way for students (and educators) to maintain a close and intimate connection to the places they visit. Most journal entries are based on written words that are descriptive of the physical surroundings, pictures and drawings of things seen. This program will look at recording SOUNDS in your journal.


Kids Farm for Sustainability
Ginny Scheer, Director; Ed Fersch, Assistant Director;
Manhattan Country School Farm Faculty

At the Manhattan Country School, farm students participate in growing their own food, and learn to prepare meals for their classmates from the vegetables, meta, milk, and eggs they produce themselves.  In our workshop, we will show slides about our program and engage in hands-on activities about gardening and dairying.  Come help us transplant seedlings and make butter!




Sailing through Time:  From Sloops to Steamboats    
Chris Bowser, Scenic Education Specialist, NYSDEC

Historical documents are a rich resource for studying history, economics, and geography. Using actual 19th Century cargo manifests, bill of sale, and captains’ letters, participants will explore shipping on the Hudson River throughout the Industrial Revolution. We’ll also discover how the Hudson River reflected change in river attitudes and uses.


Reptiles and Amphibians; Conservation Biology
Peter Warny, Research Associate, W. CT. State University

This “Field Trip in a Classroom” will depict 30 years’ experience leading Educational Zoology and Ecology. Field trips to snake, turtle, and salamander habitats, food-webs, animal behavior, population demographics, predator/prey relationships, parasites, diseases, rehabilitation and radio tracking will be discussed. Examples of habitat changes in the urban and rural landscapes will be followed by Q&A and a live animal demonstration.


Return of the Bald Eagle: Including our National Symbol in your Classroom      
Lisa Baugh, Beth Rhines, Phyllis Bock;
Environmental Educators

This workshop presents ways to educate students about the vital role Bald eagles play in the ecosystem. Participants will be given a brief informative talk about the history, conservation and identification of this top predator in the Hudson River Region. Active hands-on activities that explore the Bald Eagle’s natural history, migration and food chain will follow.



An Inconvenient Truth: Climate change and our actions
Shino Tanikawa, The Climate Project

 “An Inconvenient Truth” is a slide presentation by Al Gore on climate changes. The presentation features the climate change science, reasons for inaction, and actions we need to take as environmental educators as well s responsible citizens. The information in the presentation is relevant to educators in all disciplines.


Incorporating Art into Outdoor Education to Enhance Student Observation, Visual Awareness, and Perception
Laurence Montalto, Professor of Art: Fashion Institute of Technology and Director of “Native Ways” Living History Program

Art has always been used to increase visual acuity. This workshop will focus on the development of concepts and ideas to enable outdoor educators to enhance students’ observation, visual awareness and perception. The workshop will include discussion and “hands-on” opportunities and will be linked to the NYS Learning Standards in Art Education, Language Arts, and Science and Technology for BOCES funding.




Hudson Valley Clay and Albany Slip:  Local Clay and Soil and Cultural Development
Peter Marotta, Owner, Hudson Valley Arts

This workshop will present how the local clays and soils that are part of every day life provide insight into the culture and technology developed in the area. Working with clay for the Hudson Valley Region, history, science and art are explored.

Historic Hotels of the Catskills
Snapper Petta, Director, Outdoor Programs, SUNY Oneonta

Spend the afternoon roaming the Kaaterskill Clove area and discover the beauty that inspired the Hudson River School of Art. We will hike to the location of the Catskill Mountain House, Hotel Kaaterskill, and the Laurel House near the famous Kaaterskill Falls. Along the way we will discuss the importance of this area in American History, Literature and Art.


Bringing Topographic Maps to Life
Aaron Bennett, Director of Education - The Catskill Center for conservation and Development

Participants will be introduced to "The Catskills: A Sense of Place" curriculum. They will then do an activity from this interdisciplinary and state standards-based curriculum. Participants will bring a topographic map of the local area to life. This session will show how to engage students (or even adults) in a sometimes “dry” topic of understanding and using maps. Different strategies for teaching this fun activity will also be highlighted so it will be applicable to all situations: various age groups, ability levels, large or small group sizes, and even locations. This workshop will give you the knowledge necessary to give your audience a true sense of place!



Getting to Know your Trees
Andy Angstrom, Adjunct Professor, Environmental Outdoor Education, SUNY, New Paltz, Retired

Trees tell us about the land: its rocks, the soil, its history and overall environment. Native people knew that the forest was the food pantry, the pharmacy, the hardware store and a place of spiritual strength. Knowing your trees is an essential first step in gaining Earth wisdom. This outdoor, hands-on adventure will provide a good start for beginners as well as depth for the “expert.


Narrative Writing in any Environment
Brian Heinz, Children’s Author/Writing Consultant

Join a critically acclaimed children’s author for eye-widening exercises and strategies in a variety of formats to produce dramatic, sensory-rich opening pages that grab the reader. A real “writer’s workshop” for those who teach the language arts to children, or who aspire to write professionally. Handout cover elements of rich narrative to expose character, setting, plot, voice, noun-verb precision, concreter language, and the editing/revision process. 


Creating Brief Interpretive Messages
Frank Knight, Environmental Educator, NYSDEC       

A Language Arts Workshop: Creating Brief Interpretive Messages for Exhibits and Brochures. Although we wee many exhibits we seldom read the entire, too long text. We will learn how to create brief, interesting, informative messages that people will read. All participants will write their own scripts using provided resource materials.         


Non-formal Environmental Education: Guidelines for Excellence
Kaeti Stoss, Educator for YMCA of Greater Rochester; Ben Murdock,
Educator for Catskill Center for Conservation and Development

The Non-formal Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence, developed by the National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education, is a tool used for development and implementation of non-formal environmental programming and resources. This introduction to nationally recognized standards will add strength and effectiveness to existing or planned non-formal environmental education.       


CSI: Critter Sign Investigation
Kristen Rosenburg,  Ginger Wszalele,  Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve (NYS DEC),
Environmental Educators

Learn to read the clues that animals leave behind and solve the nature mysteries in your own backyard. Hands-on investigations will include real bio-facts from native mammals, birds, and insects.


Hocus Pocus Focus Your Locus
Justin McGlamer and Mike Gessford, Facilitator of Adventure Ed., Phys. Ed. Teacher, Adjunct Faculty; Gengras Center of Saint Joseph College.

Understanding how to harness the collective power of the group and how to focus it can bring groups to new levels of performance that will amaze even the most cynical of group members.  This workshop will provide active and reflective activities that will help to both illustrate the power of the focused collective mind and/or bring the group back to a state of elevated focus.