Department of Environmental Conservation

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Reinstein Woods Youth Programs

DEC, in partnership with Friends of Reinstein Woods, offers guided tours and outreach programs to children of all ages. We also offer service project, badge and Eagle Scout opportunities for scouts (see information at the bottom of this page).

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, as our schedule fills quickly. A list of program topics is included below. For details about scheduling a program, visit Friends of Reinstein Woods Youth Programs (leaving DEC's website) or call 716-683-5959 for more information.

Guided Tours

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).

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.

Animal Signs (For grades 2 and older)
An introduction to some New York State wildlife and their habitats.

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.

Evening Adventure
Participants use their senses while experiencing a walk in the woods in the evening. Hands-on activities help children to explore and feel comfortable in the outdoors as the sun goes down.

Winter Challenges
Participants 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.

Outreach Programs

An environmental educator will bring nature to your group in these exciting educational programs, which last about 45 minutes.

Amazing Owls
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.

Animal Tracks
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.

Fantastic Frogs
Through hands-on and whole-body activities, participants take an in-depth look at the adaptations of New York's frogs.

Nature's Recyclers
Learn how red wiggler worms take food scraps and make compost to use in gardens.

Skull Science
Using skulls from New York State wildlife, participants explore how the physical features of different species help them to survive in their environment.

Trash Talk
Participants 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.

Watershed Works
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.

Service Projects

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.

Eagle Scouts

We have limited Eagle Scout project opportunities available. Past Eagle Scout projects have included coordinating stream cleanup, constructing deer enclosures, building a composting bin, and rehabilitating trails. Call 716-683-5959 to learn more and to schedule a meeting with the service project coordinator.