School Programs

School Programs

Reinstein Woods School Programs

Explore the outdoors on a field trip to Reinstein Woods, or let us bring nature to your students through classroom presentations.

Guided Outdoor Lessons

Reinstein Woods staff and trained volunteers will lead your students on an outdoor exploration of nature. These standards-based lessons are taught outdoors, last about 1 ½ hours, and are offered year-round (unless otherwise noted). Please plan on a two-hour time frame for your visit to Reinstein Woods to allow time for arrival, dividing into groups and using the restrooms. Our school program brochure can be downloaded here.

Exploring the Outdoors

Grades PreK – 1 A close-up look at nature, emphasizing the development of exploration skills and wonder at the mysteries in the outdoors. Students are encouraged to discover and share the excitement of finding a caterpillar or a chipmunk hole. Hands-on, inquiry-based activities help young children to feel comfortable in the outdoors and to appreciate our environment.

Animal Signs

Grades 2 – 8 An introduction to some New York State wildlife and their habitats. Students 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. Hands-on, inquiry-based activities and natural objects such as animal pelts and feathers will illustrate wildlife adaptations.

World of the Pond

Grades 3 – 8 Students will explore the rich and diverse ecosystem of the pond. After examining the physical characteristics of the pond, students will collect aquatic organisms and observe them closely. The students can then identify these inhabitants of this exciting miniature world and develop explanations about their interconnectedness. Offered May-June and September- October only.

Alien Invaders

Grades 3-12 After searching for “alien” (non-native) plants and animals, students will understand the impact of these invasive species on the environment. In-school program and service projects are also available; call for more information.

Forest and Pond Ecosystems

Grades 7 – 12 Even though Reinstein Woods is a nature preserve, it has been influenced by the actions of humans. This lesson focuses on habitat and wildlife management issues affecting the ecosystems in the woods today. Students will also observe examples of ecological forces at work, such as forest and pond succession, invasive species, and decomposition.

Winter Challenges

Grades 2 – 12 Students 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. Large groups may be divided into indoor and outdoor sessions, due to snowshoe availability. Snowshoe rental is included, if there is enough snow. Offered December- March only, weather permitting.

Climate Change Connections

Grades 6 – 12 Students will learn about global climate change by exploring Reinstein Woods’ own “green” building. Eco-friendly features of the Environmental Education Center are woven into hands-on, inquiry-based activities. Students will discover connections between themselves and the environment. Using what they learn, students will devise ways to go green in their schools and homes.

In-school Programs

Reinstein Woods staff will bring nature to your classroom in these exciting standards-based educational programs, which last about 45 minutes. (See the In-school Programs: Teacher Resources page for lesson plan overviews, correlations to NYS learning standards and post-visit activities.) We request a maximum of 25 students per session. Programs may be modified for age groups other than those listed; please call for more information.

Animal Tracks

Grades PreK – 3 Students will learn about animal tracks and traces through interactive activities, then compose their own track “story” or make their own tracks.

CSI: Critter Sign Investigation

Grades 4 – 8 Students will examine evidence left by insects, birds and mammals and interpret these “clues” to learn about the lifestyles of local wildlife.

Forecast: Frogs

Grades PreK – 3 Through hands-on and whole-body activities, students take an in-depth look at the adaptations of New York’s frogs. An ideal program to supplement raising frogs in the classroom.

Nature’s Recyclers

Grades PreK – 8 Students will learn how red wiggler worms take food scraps and make compost to use in vegetable and flower 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. A starter kit with worms and some compost will be provided upon request.

Skull Science

Grades 4 – 8 Using skulls from New York State wildlife, students will explore how the physical features of different species help them to survive in their environment.


Trash Talk

Grades K – 8 Students will learn about the three “R’s”, explore the impact of garbage on the environment, and find out ways to reduce, reuse and recycle at home and school. Activities may include using math to study trash and playing “Recycling Jeopardy!”

Watershed Works

Grades PreK – 8 Students will learn what a watershed is, how water can become polluted and ways to help protect our water resources, using hands-on activities or a 3-D watershed model.


How to Sign Up


Call 716-683-5959 for a lesson or program reservation, or fill out the online request form. Please be sure that the date is acceptable to your group before making the reservation, as we are often unable to reschedule groups. Please contact us a minimum of three weeks before your desired date. For guided outdoor lessons, May, June, and October are our busiest months; call early to reserve your preferred dates. After making a reservation, you will receive a confirmation letter and invoice by e-mail or by postal mail. Guided outdoor lessons will also receive pre-visit information to share with students.

Fees (effective 7/1/15)

Guided Outdoor Lessons

A donation is requested for these lessons to cover part of the cost of running the program. Groups with financial limitations may fill out a scholarship application to request a fee waiver. The amount is based on the number of field parties needed. To provide the most effective outdoor lesson experience, large classes are divided into smaller field parties. The maximum size allowed is 15 students for each Reinstein Woods instructor, and a maximum of 90 students per lesson per day. Larger groups may be divided over multiple days.

  • 1 field party (up to 15 students) = $40
  • 2 field parties (16-30 students) = $80
  • 3 field parties (31-45 students) = $120
  • 4 field parties (46-60 students) = $160
  • 5 field parties (61-75 students) = $200
  • 6 field parties (76-90 students) = $240

Please note: You are responsible for paying for the number of students originally scheduled, even if some are absent.

In-School Programs

There is a requested donation of $30.00 per in-school program session. Groups with financial limitations may request a fee waiver; contact Reinstein Woods for more details.


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. As noted above, groups with financial limitations may fill out a scholarship application to request a fee waiver.

Transportation Grant Opportunities

Pat Taeger Fund:
Reinstein Woods volunteer Patricia Taeger was a teacher aide for Cheektowaga Central Schools who enjoyed working with students in special education. The Pat Taeger Field Trip Fund provides transportation grants of up to $250 to bring students in special education or alternative education programs to Reinstein Woods for field trips. The field trip fees normally requested by Reinstein Woods are waived for any group receiving a transportation grant. For more information visit the Pat Taeger Field Trip Fund.

Connect Kids Reimbursement Grants:
New York State has launched a “Connect Kids to Parks” program to enhance educational and recreational opportunities for schoolchildren and help promote public lands in every corner of the state. The Connect Kids Transportation Reimbursement Grants Program will reimburse transportation and program fees for students in Title 1 schools who go on a field trip to Reinstein Woods. The application process opens July 1 for field trips in the 2016-2017 school year. There is no deadline, although early application is encouraged as tour dates fill quickly. You can read about the program here.


Schools must provide a minimum of two adult chaperones (and maximum of four adults) for each field party of 15 students. Chaperones must be prepared to participate fully in all activities and to assist the instructor with some tasks when requested to do so. Chaperones are also responsible for the discipline of the group.


Students and chaperones must be prepared to encounter weather! Watch the weather forecasts before your tour date and encourage parents and students to do the same. Please make every effort to see that students are prepared for any possible weather conditions. We reserve the right to refuse to take any student outdoors who is not appropriately dressed for the weather.


If you must cancel your scheduled lesson 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 and to discuss alternate arrangements (i.e. indoor programs) before departing from your school.

Lunch Facilities

Full service bathrooms are available on site. Small groups may use the pavilion or classroom (if available) for lunch upon request. Picnic pavilions for large groups and restrooms are available at neighboring Stiglmeier Park (Town of Cheektowaga) on Losson Road. Contact the Cheektowaga Parks Department at 716-656-2280 for more information.