Environmental Education

Earth Explorers

Activities that expose people to nature have been shown to improve health and happiness and are a great way to educate through exploration and discovery. They are also just plain fun! The Bureau of Recreation’s Earth Explorers program aims to expose youth to the nature right in the City of Rochester by getting them outside and interacting with the natural world around them.

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From the Genesee River Gorge and its breathtaking cataracts, to the hundreds of acres of parkland, to the lakefront where the mighty Genesee reaches Lake Ontario, we have very real nature right in the midst of our city. The 200,000 Rochester residents share this environment with an astounding array of plants and animals-- from rabbits and bald eagles to the earthworms under our feet--much of which exists hidden from city residents because they don't really know where or how to look for it!

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The Earth Explorers program encourages youth to find nature in their own backyard. Some days, that means working in a garden at the center. Other days, we’re playing a game of Frisbee in snowshoes, or going on a field trip to learn about birds of prey or maple sugaring! A garden, forest or open field serves as a wonderful outdoor classroom, where youth learn while staying engaged and active.
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Photo credit Communications Bureau, City of Rochester, NY.


The Earth explorers program is a year round program that provides a multitude of opportunities for learning about and engaging with the natural world. Participants will learn to grow food and tend plants in our on-site gardens, practice STEAM experiments based on natural phenomena through hands on activities in the classroom and have opportunities to go on field trips to some of Rochester’s most unique and fascinating natural spaces! 

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The program is currently held at the following R-Centers. Please contact your local center for current dates and times:


Adams Street    

Frederick Douglass        

Thomas P. Ryan               

David F. Gantt 

Trenton and Pamela Jackson     

Carter Street 

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Nature Experiences in Park Programs

We have expanded our environmental programming to be included in our After School and Summer Camp programs! Kids will have the opportunities to enjoy nature walks and nature activities in all of our park programs!

Nature at ASIP!

After School in the Park: Nature Wednesdays has come to ASIP! Kids will spend their out of school time on Wednesdays enjoying nature walks in Cobb’s Hill Park and Washington Gove, as well as learning about our local wildlife with experiments,

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Nature at Summer Camp!

ArtSmart Summer Camps: Our ArtSmart East and ArtSmart West Summer Camps will be hosting weekly nature walks at two of our Cities premier parks, Genesee Valley Park and the one of a kind Washington Grove located within Cobb’s Hill Park. 

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Nature in parks!

Rec on the Move:  Come discover nature in your local park with our Rec on the Move staff! Each ROTM truck is outfitted with nature games and activities for all ages.

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Department of Recreation & Human Services
Stephanie Benway, Environmental Education Specialist