School Programs

Nothing’s more fun at school than a visit from Group for the East End. For over 25 years, we’ve been educating children, teachers, and families about the natural world. We lead guided field trips, interactive classes, and service projects in at least 35 schools for grades pre-K–12. We reach over 2,500 kids a year (and with your help we can reach more)!

Below are some of our NEW and most popular programs.  We work closely with educators to develop the most relevant lessons for their classrooms.  Many components of these lessons are aligned with the New York State Learning Standards and the Common Core Curriculum.

Our FIELD EXCURSIONS offer opportunities for students to study their local environment, discover nature as a source of inspiration & creativity, and develop age-appropriate science skills. The following are examples of our most popular field lessons, which can be adapted for a wide range of grade levels:

Ocean Beach Bonanza

Field classes examine both the physical and biological properties of the beach by making observations and gathering data on weather, sand, seawater, and living organisms. Students study the visible horizontal variation in animals and plants of the beaches, dunes and near-shore waters, including their adaptations for survival. Fun beachcombing challenges are integral parts of these field lessons.  Students depart with a clear sense of the ocean beach’s complexity and overall beauty.

Estuary Explorations

Bursting with life, the harbors and salt marshes of the Peconic Estuary are great places for students (grades K-12) to experience live animals up close. Nets, aquarium tanks, and spotting scopes are some tools we use for observing animal and plant life in the estuary. Students also learn how humans impact these fragile ecosystems and about actions we can take to help keep our estuaries healthy and productive.  This lesson can be modified to become a classroom-based program.

Freshwater Pond Discoveries

Using scientific instruments, students measure physical properties of a freshwater pond such as water and air temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH.  Additionally, students will discover both plant and animal life and discuss the various adaptations that allow these organisms to survive in this ever-changing freshwater wetland habitat. Freshwater ponds are excellent locations to learn about seasonal changes, plant and animal adaptations, and ecological relationships.

Forest Investigations

Students act as nature detectives as they investigate the vertical layers of the forest.  This field study focuses on identifying ecological relationships while searching for signs of animal life, discussing the landscape’s cultural history, and examining the importance of decomposition. Students will use scientific instruments and scientific inquiry skills to develop an understanding of Long Island forests.

Schoolyard Planting

Allow Group for the East End to assist you and your students in creating a native garden in your schoolyard.  Attract beautiful butterflies, insects, and birds to your garden by planting various grasses, shrubs, and flowers at your school.  Gardens are excellent places to learn about the outdoors and view nature in action.  *Ask us about making your garden a Rain Garden!

Shipwreck Survival Field Trip or Schoolyard Lesson

This interdisciplinary program is a fun way to integrate science, math, language arts, and social studies into an outdoor adventure.  Students imagine that they have been shipwrecked and must find elements around the island to help them survive. Students will break up into smaller groups to create shelter while learning knot-tying skills, make solar stills to obtain freshwater from saltwater, identify local plants and animals for potential food sources, and learn how to use compasses with the hopes of finding their way off Shipwreck Island.  Students will create journal entries describing how each of these activities was essential to their survival.  This program is often completed at a local beach, but can be modified to a schoolyard environment.

Customized Field Program

If you do not see a Program that fits your school’s needs, then allow Group for the East End’s staff to customize a field study to suit your district’s curricular needs.  Our knowledgeable staff can design an individualized program or series of programs that will certainly captivate students’ attention and give them a new ecological perspective.

Group educators make CLASSROOM VISITS across eastern Long Island, teaching programs on a variety of environmental and natural history topics. Popular lessons include:

Long Island’s Geological History

Classes follow Long Island’s geological history from the formation of its underlying bedrock to its glacial deposits on or near the surface.  This program emphasizes how the Earth’s land masses and climate are constantly changing over long periods of geologic time.  The lesson culminates with an ‘ice cream glacier,” modeling Long Island’s glacial beginnings.

Water Beneath Our Feet

Approximately 3-4% of the Earth’s water is fresh water, with about 30% of that water being trapped underground in our aquifers.  Students will discuss where freshwater is located on Earth, as well as why Long Island’s unique geology allows us to use this source as drinking water.  Students will be able to visualize Long Island’s three major aquifers by interacting with Group for the East End’s groundwater model.  They will also better understand how human actions pollute drinking water and what we can do to help minimize our impact on freshwater.  The program concludes with a blind “drinking water taste-off” to see if students can identify differences between bottled water or public or private drinking wells.

Taxonomic Classifications of Local Animals

During this program students will discuss the 6 major characteristics that all living organisms possess, as well as, the 7 primary taxonomic groups.  Students will then break into small teams and actively classify local invertebrates and vertebrates species based on their similar characteristics.  This program nicely compliments many of our other educational programs and therefore can be used in conjunction with such lessons as, Animal Adaptations and Estuary Explorations. 

Beaks & Feet

This workshop examines animal adaptations by focusing on birds.  Students will investigate taxidermy mounts of local birds and then compare and contrast the structural similarities and differences in their physiological features. Young students (grades 2 and 3) may incorporate a “Bird Feeding Simulation Game” into the lesson.  Students of all ages (grades 2-8) will fly away with an appreciation for the complexity of bird adaptations and variation among species

The Great Migration Challenge

Students act as nature detectives as they investigate the challenges that organisms face while making their migrations.  Students ask the six general questions about migration- Who, What, When, Why, Where, and How- to help understand the intense undertaking these animals face.  Students end the program by playing the “Great Migration Challenge,” in which they become birds attempting to successfully make the 2,000 mile journey.

Amazing Animal Adaptations Lesson

This engaging lesson focuses on highlighting several amazing animal adaptations including camouflage, warning coloration, chemical defense, and mimicry.  Students will learn about unique adaptations that bees, snakes, octopi, fish, and some birds possess to allow them the ability to communicate, defend themselves, attract mates, find food, and seek refuge from their predators.  The program culminates with the choice of students playing the Great Migration Challenge Game or designing imaginary creatures that possess as many of these amazing adaptations as possible.

Sun, Earth, Moon, Tide Lesson

As a coastal community, understanding what causes tides and the tide cycle is critical to fishing, boating, surfing, and even storm preparedness. In this interactive lesson, students model the relative motion of the sun, earth, and moon with spheres and flashlights, and play a classroom version of tug-o-war with the earth’s oceans. Elementary students especially enjoy learning about moon phases with our “Moon Munch” activity.

Stormwater Surface Runoff Demonstration

During this program, students will be able to define a watershed, compare and contrast point versus nonpoint pollution, describe the components of the water cycle, and identify ways to minimize stormwater runoff.  A three-dimensional model of a typical coastal watershed is then used to allow students to actually demonstrate the impacts of stormwater runoff on local communities and waterways.  A discussion concerning ways to minimize these negative consequences of stormwater runoff will conclude the program.

Food Chains & Food Webs

This program enables students to better understand the relationships between all living things and their importance in maintaining a balance in nature.  Students will discuss the flow of energy, the various ecological roles that plants and animals play in nature, and the ecological relationships that are evident in food webs.  The lesson culminates with students investigating plankton, the primary base of the marine food web, using microscopes.

Customized Classroom Lesson

If you do not see a Program that fits your school’s needs, then allow Group for the East End’s staff to customize a classroom lesson or field study to suit your district’s curricular needs.  Our knowledgeable staff can design an individualized program or series of programs that will certainly captivate students’ attention and give them a new ecological perspective.

Professional Development Opportunity

Group for the East End (in collaboration with Eastern Suffolk BOCES Arts-in-Education) is offering a Professional Development opportunity for all teachers – Using S.T.E.A.M. and Nature in Your Schoolyard to Enhance Classroom Curriculum.

For years schools have recognized the need to prepare their students for a rapidly changing world.  In response, schools have readapted curriculum to focus more on preparing students in the concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) but now will add an art component to this approach, turning STEM into STEAM. Group for the East End educators will assist elementary school teachers create unique, highly refined interdisciplinary STEAM projects and standard-based learning activities using one’s schoolyard and outdoor environment as a source of inspiration. Lessons and activities support NYS Learning Standards and integrate Common Core shifts in ELA+ Literacy and Mathematics.

More Information:

Please contact Steve Biasetti (Director of Environmental Education) at 631-765-6450, ext. 205 or e-mail