Reinstein Woods Youth Programs
Reinstein Woods offers guided tours and outreach programs to children of all ages. Call 716-683-5959 for a program reservation. Please be sure that the date is acceptable to your group before making the reservation, as we are often unable to reschedule groups. Programs may be scheduled on weekdays and weekends, for morning, afternoon or evening times, based on staff and volunteer availability. A minimum of 10 participants (children and adults) is required to schedule a program.
Please contact us a minimum of three weeks before your desired date. For guided outdoor programs, February, May, June, and October are our busiest months; call early to reserve your preferred dates. After making a program reservation, you will receive a confirmation letter by e-mail or by postal mail.
DEC environmental educators or trained volunteers will lead your group on an outdoor exploration of nature. These programs are conducted outdoors, last about 1 ½ hours, and are offered year-round for all ages (unless otherwise noted). Please plan on about a two-hour time frame for your visit to Reinstein Woods, to allow time for arrival, dividing into smaller groups and using the restrooms.
Exploring the Outdoors (For grades preK-1)
A close-up look at nature, emphasizing the development of exploration skills and wonder at the mysteries in the outdoors. Children are encouraged to discover and share the excitement of finding a caterpillar or a chipmunk hole. Hands-on activities help younger children to feel comfortable in the outdoors and to appreciate the beauty and fragility of our environment.
Animal Signs (For grades 2 and older)
An introduction to some New York State wildlife and their habitats. Children will search for "clues"-footprints, gnawed trees, and holes-that animals have left and will use these clues to learn about animals' needs, life processes and interrelationships.
Terrific Trees (For grades 2 and older)
Participants will learn about local trees, from identification to aging and tree parts to forest types, through hands-on activities.
Alien Invaders (For grades 3 and older)
After searching for "alien" (non-native) plants and animals, participants will understand the impact of these invasive species on the environment. Off-site programs and service projects are also available; call for more information.
Participants will use their senses while experiencing a walk in the woods in the evening. Learn about animals that are active at night, and the adaptations they use to survive. Hands-on activities help children to explore and feel comfortable in the outdoors as the sun goes down.
Participants will discover how wildlife survive the cold challenges of the winter season by taking a guided walk on snowshoes to search for animal homes, tracks, and other signs. Snowshoe rental is included in fee. Minimum of 6" of snow is required to use snowshoes; if there is not enough snow we will walk instead. Offered December-March only, weather permitting.
A DEC environmental educator will bring nature to your group in these exciting educational programs, which last about 45 minutes. Maximum of 25 children per session.
Owls are amazing creatures of the night. Participants will learn about the adaptations that make them so well suited to their nocturnal lifestyle through hands-on activities.
Participants learn about tracks and traces of local wildlife through interactive activities.
CSI: Critter Sign Investigation
Examine evidence left by insects, birds and mammals and interpret these "clues" to learn about local wildlife.
Through hands-on and whole-body activities, participants take an in-depth look at the adaptations of New York's frogs.
Learn how red wiggler worms take food scraps and make compost to use in gardens. This presentation will include other creatures living in compost bins, how to make a compost bin and what foods you can feed your worms.
Using skulls from New York State wildlife, participants will explore how the physical features of different species help them to survive in their environment.
Participants will learn about the three "R's" (reduce, reuse, recycle), explore the impact of garbage on the environment, and find out ways to reduce, reuse and recycle at home.
Participants will learn what a watershed is, how water can become polluted and ways to help protect our water resources, using a 3-D watershed model and hands-on activities.
We can accommodate groups looking to complete service hours with trail maintenance work and other small projects; call to arrange a work day at Reinstein Woods. Groups can also participate in the Annual Spring Cleanup held on the first Saturday in May.
We are usually able to accommodate groups of scouts who are looking to work on a specific badge requirement, for example: tree identification, wildflower identification, birdwatching, etc. If you have scouts who are looking to work on a badge, please inform the staff when you call to schedule a program. You may be asked to provide a copy of the requirements to Reinstein Woods staff prior to the program.
We have limited Eagle Scout project opportunities available. Past Eagle Scout projects have included coordinating stream cleanup, constructing deer exclosures, building a composting bin, and rehabilitating trails. Call 716-683-5959 to learn more and to schedule a meeting with the service project coordinator.
Fees (effective 7/1/15)
A fee is charged for guided tours to cover part of the cost of running the program. This fee is based on the number of field parties needed. To provide the most effective outdoor lesson experience, large groups are divided into smaller field parties. The maximum size allowed is 20 people total (kids and adults) for each Reinstein Woods instructor.
- 1 field party (up to 20 kids & adults) = $60
- 2 field parties (21-40 kids & adults) = $120
- 3 field parties (41-60 kids & adults) = $180
Winter Challenges (includes snowshoe rental)
- 1 field party (up to 20 kids & adults) = $120
- 2 field parties (21-40 kids & adults) = $240
- 3 field parties (41-60 kids & adults) = $360
Please note: You are responsible for paying for the number of people originally scheduled, even if some are absent.
There is a requested fee of $30.00 per outreach program session.
Payments are preferred by check (payable to "Friends of Reinstein Woods") or credit card; cash is also accepted. Friends of Reinstein Woods is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization which supports education programs at Reinstein Woods. Groups with financial limitations may fill out a scholarship application to request a fee waiver.
A $30.00 deposit is requested for guided tours. The deposit must be received at least a week before the scheduled program date.
There must be a minimum of one adult chaperone for each field party of children (two is recommended). Chaperones must be prepared to participate fully in all activities, may be asked to assist the instructor with some tasks and are also responsible for the discipline of the group.
Participants must be prepared to encounter weather! Watch the weather forecasts before your tour date and encourage parents to do the same. Please make every effort to see that children are prepared for any possible weather conditions. We reserve the right to refuse to take anyone outdoors who is not appropriately dressed for the weather.
If you must cancel your scheduled tour for any reason, please contact us at 716-683-5959 at least one hour before the designated time. We reserve the right to cancel a tour in unsafe conditions (e.g. thunderstorms, high winds, extreme cold). If the weather is questionable, please call us to check the weather conditions at Reinstein Woods.
Full service bathrooms are available on site. Small groups (maximum 30 people) may use the pavilion or classroom (if available) for lunch upon request. Picnic pavilions and restrooms for large groups are available at neighboring Stiglmeier Park (Town of Cheektowaga) on Losson Road. Contact the Cheektowaga Parks Department at 716-656-2280 for more information.