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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

Region Four Nature Centers

Montgomery, Otsego, Delaware, Schoharie, Schenectady, Albany, Greene, Rensselaer and Columbia Counties

This region encompasses New York's Capital Region and areas west along the Mohawk River. The northern Catskills are also included in Region Four, providing a diverse array of habitat to explore in this area.

DEC encourages visitors to call ahead to confirm directions, hours of operation and user fee information.

Note: By clicking on the links for these environmental centers, you will go off DEC's website.

Five Rivers Environmental Education Center

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
56 Game Farm Road
Delmar, NY 12054
518-475-0291
Five Rivers EEC's Website

Albany County

Program Description: Located in the Capital District, Five Rivers provides a wide variety of guided and self-guided programs for both drop-in and scheduled groups. Guided services include: public programs, interpretive walks and demonstrations on natural history topics, workshops for teachers, lessons for school and youth groups, school site consultations and a free newsletter/program schedule. Please remember that there are no pets allowed on Five Rivers EEC grounds, this includes dog-walking.

Hours: Grounds open all year, sunrise to sunset // Guided programs are offered Mon.-Sat. 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM and April - October. Closed Sundays and major holidays.

Fees: For youth lessons and special workshops only

Buildings: Interpretive center and restrooms

Wheelchair access: Trails and buildings accessible

Visitor Focus: Schools, General Public

Picnic Area: Picnic tables, but no grilling allowed.

Berkshire Bird Paradise Sanctuary

43 Red Pond Road
Petersburgh, NY 12138
518-279-3801
Berkshire Bird Paradise Website

Rensselaer County

Program Description: The Berkshire Bird Paradise, a not-for-profit outdoor educational institution, houses a large collection of more than 100 birds from Australian emus to North American raptors. The Sanctuary offers student field trips, college ornithological internships and public visitation.

Hours: Grounds open every day, dawn to dusk // Guided programs available from May - October: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Fees: Yes

Buildings: Interpretive center and restrooms

Visitor Focus: Schools, General Public

Picnic Area: Yes

Civilian Conservation Corps Museum

18 CCC Rd
Laurens, NY 13796
607-432-2114
Otsego County

Program Description: The New York State Civilian Conservation Corps Museum is located at Gilbert Lake State Park and is focused on the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps (1933-1942), a depression era program. The museum features memorabilia and pictures of the CCC, along with mounted specimens of local wildlife.

Hours: Gilbert Lake State Park is open Memorial Day to Labor Day: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM and when the beach is open.

Fees: $6 Parking fee for park until 6pm on Memorial Day - Labor Day

Buildings: Museum near the beach and many other CCC built structures throughout the 1600-acre State Park.

Wheelchair access: Yes

Visitor Focus: History, Nature, Recreation

Picnic Area: Pavilions, picnic tables, beach, camping, cabins.

Cohotate Preserve Environmental Education Center

Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District
907 Greene County Office Building
Cairo, NY 12143
518-622-3620
Fax : 518-622-0344
Cohotate Preserve Environmental Ed Website

Greene County

Program Description: Fifty-two acre preserve with hiking trails, teaching pond, historic icehouse foundation and 3000' of Hudson River frontage. Cohotate Preserve is home to Columbia-Greene Community College's Environmental Field Station. The Preserve is open year-round for hiking and snowshoeing. Programs include on-site Hudson River ecology classes for school and youth groups, field ecology classes for Columbia-Greene Community College students and an annual Fall Festival.

Hours: Dawn to dusk, year-round

Fees: None

Buildings: Columbia-Greene Community College Hudson River Environmental Field Station. Field station is closed during winter months and does not have bathroom facilities. Portable toilets on-site in spring, summer and fall.

Wheelchair access: No accessible trails at this time.

Visitor Focus: Cohotate Preserve is open to the general public. Field station is open by appointment only. Educational focus is on school and youth groups.

Picnic Area: Yes. Picnic tables by the riverside.

Dyken Pond Environmental Center

Rensselaer Environmental Council
475 Dyken Pond Road
Cropseyville, NY 12052
518-658-2055
Dyken Pond Website

Rensselaer County

Program Description: Year-round nature preserve, featuring exhibits and displays on wildlife and natural resources. Six miles of trails for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Pond available for fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

Hours: Guided programs available mid-May through September. Please call for appointments // Grounds open every day.

Fees: No fee for general hiking: modest program fees for public programs.

Buildings: Main office, outdoor amphitheater, non-motorized boat launch and three educational cabins.

Wheelchair access: Limited accessibility on trails; buildings accessible

Visitor Focus: Casual hiking and exploring, youth programs, and adult activities.

Picnic Area: Tables yes, but no formal area.

Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

87 Nature Center Way
Voorheesville, NY 12186
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center

Albany County

Program Description: Thacher Nature Center is located on the shore of Thompson's Lake in the Capital District. Exhibits and hands on displays focus on the local natural environment and regional geology. Interpretive walks and educational programs are offered year round for school groups and the general public. Trails to the lake and through fields and forest connect with the scenic 2,000 acre John Boyd Thacher State Park.

Hours: Year-round, Tues. - Sun., 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Fees: No admission fee

Buildings: Interpretive center

Wheelchair access: Building is accessible, trails are not accessible

Visitor Focus: General public, schools

Picnic Area: Yes

Hawthorne Valley Farm

Rudolf Steiner Educational & Farming Association
RR 2, Box 225
Ghent, NY 12075
518-672-4790
Fax: 518-672-4887
Hawthorne Valley Farm Website

Columbia County

Program Description: Student interns provide resident farm/environmental education programs for elementary school children. Children experience the cycle of the seasons on the farm and in the meadows, woods and waters of the surrounding 400 acres. Daily activities may include nature study, hiking, wood chopping, cider pressing, bread baking, butter making, winter sports, crafts, animal feeding and farm chores. A small camp for 9-15 year olds is operated in the summer.

Hours: Guided programs for residential groups by advance reservation. Call in advance.

Fees: Yes; call for information

Buildings: Restrooms

Wheelchair access: No

Visitor Focus: Schools

Picnic Area: No

George Landis Arboretum

174 Lape Road
PO Box 186
Esperance, NY 12066
518-875-6935
Fax: 518-875-6394
George Landis Arboretum Website

Schoharie County

Program Description:Landis Arboretum is a 163 acre garden of trees and shrubs including collections areas, native woodland, meadows and ponds. The Arboretum offers free family programs on weekends from April - October as well as workshops, classes and concerts throughout the year. Recreation opportunities include hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. There are rare plant sales in May and September.

Hours: Grounds open from dawn to dusk year-round // Office is open Mon. - Fri. from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM excluding holidays.

Fees: There is no admission fee to the grounds. Workshops, classes and concerts have variable participation fees.

Buildings: Farmhouse in which the offices are located. A restored barn in which concerts are held. Greenhouse and library, classes and workshops held here. Our Meetinghouse is the base for free family programs and contains accessible bathrooms.

Wheelchair access: Limited. There are no paved roads or paths within the Arboretum. The Meetinghouse is accessible and contains bathrooms.

Visitor Focus: School Groups, General Public

Picnic Area: There are many lovely places to picnic throughout the Arboretum. Picnic tables are available near the farmhouse and barn. The Landis Arboretum follows a carry in/carry out policy.

Mud Creek Environmental Learning Center

1024 Route 66
Ghent, NY 12106
518-828-4386
Fax: 914-255-5646
Mud Creek Environmental Learning Center Website

Columbia County

Program Description: The Center provides on-site and outreach environmental education programs for schools and the general public and includes an interpretative center and trail system. The entire Center is in a development phase both indoors and out. The outdoor portion of the Center consists of a 52 acre riparian wetland with some upland habitat and agricultural remnants. There are two trails that traverse the site, a short loop, great for younger kids, that takes about a half hour to hike at moderate pace. There is also a longer loop that is less developed. The trails are cleared and have boardwalks in place at two locations. We conduct a wide variety of environmental educational programs on site and in schools for all grade levels, and on site and at community locations for the general public and special interest groups. A brochure is available describing our Center and many of the programs we currently offer. All programs can be tailored to grade level and special interests.

Hours: Office: Mon. - Fri.: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM; weekend programs are available through arrangement // Trails are open to the public during daylight hours. Self-guided trail brochures are available in the CCSWCD office during office hours listed above.

Fees: None

Buildings: Trails, Columbia County Soil and Water Conservation District Building, and interpretive room for classes.

Wheelchair access: Building. Trails are not accessible.

Visitor Focus: School groups, General Public

Picnic Area: No

Pine Lake Environmental Campus

Hartwick College
1894 Charlotte Creek Road
Oneonta, NY 13820
607-431-4520
Fax: 607-278-5061
Pine Lake Environmental Campus Website

Delaware County

Program Description: Hartwick College's Pine Lake Campus is a 920-acre living laboratory, recreation area, and living alternative of ecologically diverse lands and varied terrain. Plant, animal, insect, and bird species abound along with a variety of aquatic life in the lake, streams, and marshes. There is also a high-altitude bog at Mud Lake. Guided programs are available during part of the year, please call the center for information. Cabins can be rented during the summer and retreat and meeting spaces are available in the Vaudevillian. There is Lakeside classroom, picnic pavilion, and the Strawbale House on the property as well. There is a sauna available some nights, call for availability.

Hours: Grounds: open everyday, dawn to dusk // Guided Programs: May - October: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Fees: Yes, call for specifics

Buildings: Main lodge, cabins, pavilion, theatre, meeting rooms

Wheelchair Access: yes, call for specifics

Visitor Focus: Schools, general public

Picnic Area: yes