We at Rensselaer Youth Outdoors are focused on helping you stay healthy, both physically and emotionally, while dealing with the effects of COVID-19 disruptions on your daily life.
While the situation continues develop, we will be postponing programs and outings, and practicing responsible Social Distancing. Instead of interacting face-to-face, RYO will be posting guides and suggestions for activities you can you can enjoy on your own or with you family. Follow our Facebook page for daily updates, which will also be collected and shared on our Activities and Resources tab.
Governor Cuomo has asked that all New York State residents limit time outside the home to essential trips for groceries and medicine. Walks outside are allowed, as long as people stay 6 feet apart.
Nature is here for you 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your favorite businesses may be closed, but the green spaces that we all love and care for together are a tremendous resource. Whether in your local park, backyard garden, at any of Rensselaer County's many public lands, or your favorite local spot, we encourage time outside while maintaining distance from others using these spaces. If you see other visitors on the trails or in the parking areas, please maintain 6 feet between you and other guests not in your family group.
Remember to maintain safe hiking practices as well. Always bring water, check the weather and dress appropriately, tell someone where you will be and when you expect to return, wear sunscreen and bug spray, tuck pants into long socks, and don't forget to do regular tick checks during and after your hike.
Stay happy and healthy, and use this time to study up on the natural world.
Update about Forest Conservation Corps 2020
Hello friends and fellow nature lovers,
I am sorry to have to announce that Rensselaer Youth Outdoors will not be running the Forest Conservation Corps (FCC) this year. 2019 was the first year RYO offered the program, and we had hoped to improve and expand it in 2020. Unfortunately, that will have to wait for 2021.
RYO works to foster nature connections for the youth and families of Rensselaer County, and ensuring the health and safety of all our participants is our top priority. We worked with our partners over the past few months to modify FCC this year, but due to safety concerns and additional external factors related to COVID-19 we are unable to run the program.
We know that many of you were looking forward to participating this year. We are working on developing alternative programs and activities to offer, and will be sharing details of them soon.
Remember, many hiking trails, parks, and community forests throughout Rensselaer County are still open for exploration and recreation.
RYO Program Coordinator
Forest Conservation Corps 2019
A Rensselaer County Teen Summer Program
Rensselaer Youth Outdoors ran a FREE environmental education summer program for youth aged 14-17. The program combined recreation and education experiences while teens worked on valuable conservation projects protecting Rensselaer County's parks, waters, and natural resources.
The Conservation Corps program seeked to:
Promote conservation, education, and community service
Educate, train, and develop the value of respect for others and the environment in young people
Provide worthwhile work and community service experiences for young people in a nature setting
Thank you to the 35 youth who participated in the 2019 Forest Conservation Corps. Your dedication and enthusiasm have made a huge difference to our partners and the Rensselaer County community.
Congratulations on becoming Forest Conservation Corps Alumni!
Check back soon for more events.
Rensselaer Youth Outdoors at a Glance
Students Question, Explore and Discover Nature
Rensselaer Youth Outdoors is a network of partners that introduces and engages the children and families of Rensselaer County in the wonder, science, and adventure of nature in an effort to create a healthier, more sustainable community in an increasingly complex world.
Students Question, Explore and Discover Nature
Haley shrieked with excitement as she peered at a thumb sized predacious diving beetle in her net. “What IS that?!”, students asked. That spark experience fueled a discussion about water quality, a topic that’s hard to teach in a classroom. It’s all part of a pilot program in a few Rensselaer County schools to teach curriculum through rich outdoor experiences.
“Our students loved collecting and finding living things in the pond. It was amazing.”, said Jennifer Brown, a third grade teacher at West Sand Lake, after a field trip to the Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center.
What We Do
Making A Difference
Schoolyard Naturalist Teacher Kits
Thanks to a generous grant from the USDA Forest Service, the following classroom kits are available for loan to all Rensselaer County teachers. The kits are geared towards K-8 students. Please contact us to borrow one today!
The trees we walk by every day can transform into fascinating, year-round outdoor labs! This kit includes lesson plan ideas, class sets of tree identification guides, hand lenses, tree cross sections and measuring tapes. We’ve also included a few non-fiction books to inspire further investigation.
This kit encourages students to focus on the fascinating ‘backyard birds’ that share our schoolyard and neighborhood habitats. In addition to a variety of lesson plan ideas, we’ve included class sets of kid friendly bird guides, feathers, binoculars plus a few fiction and non-fiction books.
From the tiniest sidewalk crack to the slightly overgrown lawn, it’s hard to find a place where insect life doesn’t abound! This kit includes lesson plan ideas, class sets of bug boxes, sweep nets and common insect identification guides, plus a few fiction and non-fiction read aloud books.
THE PRIVATE EYE CURRICULUM
From the Private Eye Website: The Private Eye is a program about the drama and wonder of looking closely at the world, thinking by analogy, changing scale and theorizing. This kit includes the 'Private Eye' curriculum guide, activity sheets and a class set of jewelers loupes.
We receive funding from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York's Environmental Protection Fund, as well as the 'Northern Research Station, Forest Service, USDA', Ann Allen Cetrino Family Foundation, Kelly Family Cuidiu Foundation, NYS Connect Kids to Parks Program, and the Friends of Dyken Pond.
PO Box 790, Averill Park, NY 12018