Nature & the Environment

To register please call 914-606-6830 and press option 1


Environmental Education and Conservation
A Partnership between the College and Westmoreland Sanctuary

Westmoreland Sanctuary is a nature center and wildlife preserve located in Mt. Kisco, serving the Westchester community and beyond. Founded almost 60 years ago, Westmoreland Sanctuary’s ever expanding tracts of land now consist of 640 acres of year-round beauty and 7.5 miles of the finest hiking trails in Westchester. It’s a place where wild bird and animal life flourish; a place where native flowers, shrubs, plants and trees are cherished, protected and preserved. It’s also a place to simply come, enjoy and reconnect with nature, and maybe even yourself.

The health of our environment and natural world depends on a committed generation of today to pass the torch of appreciation, understanding, and respect of the natural world to future generations. Central to Westmoreland Sanctuary’s mission is offering environmental education and conservation programs to all. While touching the lives of 12,000 young students each year with certified environmental programming, Westmorland staff also conducts programs for adults that are both wide and varied. To learn more, please visit:

All classes below are held onsite at Westmoreland Sanctuary,
260 Chestnut Ridge Road, Mount Kisco

Bird Banding
A unique learning activity in our bird banding program. Participate as staff use mist nets and other techniques to safely capture wild birds, then assist as they identify each bird, record its age and sex, and carefully place a numbered band on the bird before it is released. Allows participants to see what scientists do to study birds. Please dress for the weather.
CE-SCI 2035, 1 Sat., June 10, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $25. S Ricker. #5752

NEW! Wilderness Survival: Fire
Fire has been an important tool for humanity from the very beginning; it’s used in our daily lives to cook our food, heat our homes, and make our cars run. How much do you know about this ancient resource, and could you get a fire started if your life depended on it? This course will cover the basic needs of fire, how to start a safe fire, different uses of fire, and the best ways to construct fires for those uses. Please dress for the weather.
CE-SCI 2037, 1 Sat., June 24, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $25. S Sciame. #5751

NEW! Pond Study
Come to Westmoreland and see the rich biodiversity found in small bodies of water around the state. Learn about how aquatic invertebrates can be used as indicators to judge the health of a pond ecosystem. Discover the dangers posed by invasive species and find out what you can do to help stop their spread.
CE-SCI 2046, 1 Sat., July 15, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $25. S Sciame. #6028

NEW! Native Wildflowers
Come out in search of native flowers of the field. We’ll learn native plant identification, protect native plants if necessary and GPS their location for our monitoring records. You’ll also learn how you can help wildflowers grow in your own backyard.
CE-GRDN 2092, 1 Sun., July 23, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $25. S Ricker. #6111

NEW! Foraging Hike
Explore the summer forests at Westmoreland and discover what resources it provides. This foraging hike will show the number of plants and other natural resources that can be used for food, water, or other necessary tools in the wild. This moderate hike will include varied terrains and inclines.
CE-TRVL 2043, 1 Sat., Aug. 5, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $25. S Sciame. #6047

NEW! Dragonflies, Butterflies, and Bees
Some of our fastest declining species are our insects. The annual butterfly and dragonfly, and native bee survey gives Westmoreland staff data to monitor population fluctuations of individual species. This data will be used in the long-term management plan for the Sanctuary. Learn how the staff catches, catalogs, and releases some of our native pollinators. Allows participants to see what scientists do to study insects.
CE-SCI 2045, 1 Sun., Aug. 20, 1:00-3:00 pm, $25. S Ricker. #6048

Intro to Beekeeping & Honey Tasting

Check out the exciting world of beekeeping with a visit to a local apiary followed by a tasting of local honeys. Class will begin with a lecture on how to get started in beekeeping and what is involved with caring for a colony of honey bees. Protective bee jackets will be provided. We’ll end up with a tasting of varietal honeys and a discussion of the health benefits associated with honey. This is a great opportunity for anyone who has ever considered beekeeping as a hobby or vocation. Held at John Jay Homestead, Katonah.
CE-SCI 2041, 1 Sat., July 15, 1:00-3:00 pm, $25. D Haverkamp. #6096

Introduction to Birds
How to identify and attract colorful birds to your backyard. Over 300 species have been seen in Westchester. One classroom session focuses on birding basics, ID techniques for learning the common birds, and the best places to go birding. The second session will be a field trip to a local nature center for first-hand practice.
CE-SCI 2013VA, 2 Sat., June 10 & 17, 9:30-11:00 am, KNC-2 (first class), $30 (+ $6 parking fee at nature center for second class). H Weber. #5379

Identifying Ferns of the Northeast
Learn the distinguishing characteristics of the 30 most common ferns native to the region. Examine the shape of fronds, spore-bearing leaves, leaf veins, and margins. Ferns will be illustrated by use of a herbarium, which allows for up-close views.
CE-GRDN 2053, 1 Wed., June 14, 7:00-9:30 pm, CLA-100, $70 (+ $5 materials fee, payable to instructor). M Penziner. #5330



Certificate in Sustainable Vegetable Production
Presented by Westchester Community College
and Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center

If you’re interested in becoming a vegetable farmer, have a passion for sustainable agriculture, or simply want to improve your own produce growing skills, this exciting new program is for you!

All classes take place at beautiful Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights. This 187-acre farm is owned by the County of Westchester, and includes a five-acre commercial crop farm, two greenhouses, and a composting facility that all highlight best practices in sustainable agriculture. Seasoned agricultural service providers and farming professionals make up the certificate faculty.

The certificate curriculum will prepare those who wish to develop agricultural and entrepreneurial skills, as well as those wishing to enhance their knowledge of vegetable production. Program focus is based on environmentally sound, community based, small-farm practices.

The program consists of 45 hours of core courses, 18 hours of electives, and 16 hours of community service at the farm, for a total of 79 hours. Coursework includes classroom study and hands-on field work highlighting practical farming skills and concepts. You may opt to complete the certificate program in 2 semesters or you may choose to take courses as stand-alone courses at your own pace.

All courses are held at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center, located at 1271 Hanover Street in Yorktown Heights (

Core Class
Hands-on Fieldwork Days
Provides 16 hours of community service at the farm, required for your certificate. Work side-by-side with farmers in the field, volunteering your time, and get a practical hands-on learning experience. Work in the fields and/or greenhouses, planting, weeding, harvesting, and preparing vegetables for sale at the farm stand. These are coordinated volunteer days with a special focus each week related to real-world time and farm sensitive needs. All volunteers will need to complete insurance waivers at Hilltop Hanover Farm.
CE-GRDN 2079, 8 Sat., July 9-Aug. 27, 10:00 am-12:00 noon, $100. #6097